Atypical complications encountered with epicardial electrophysiological procedures

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35 Scopus citations


Background With the increasing use, complexity, anatomical approaches, and tools related to epicardial procedures, complications previously not seen during endovascular ablation are now well recognized with epicardial ablation. Whether newer approaches and the regional anatomy of the pericardial space contribute to unexpected complications after epicardial access (EpiAcc) is presently unknown. Objective To characterize underreported, or novel, complications associated with percutaneous EpiAcc as part of an electrophysiology procedure. Methods We retrospectively reviewed percutaneous EpiAcc as part of an ablation procedure from January 1, 2004, to December 31, 2011. Results Of 116 attempts in 107 patients, 8 atypical ablation complications (no procedural deaths) were noted; complications included delayed pericarditis (2 weeks), chronic refractory pericarditis, requirement for snaring of broken intrapericardial wire, pleural perforation, phrenic nerve injury despite protective strategies, hemoperitoneum, and abdominal-pericardial fistula. Conclusion Vigilance both during and after EpiAcc is needed to recognize these complications, some of which may be life-threatening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1613-1621
Number of pages9
JournalHeart rhythm
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Ablation
  • Atypical
  • Complication
  • Electrophysiology
  • Epicardial
  • Hemoperitoneum
  • Pericardial effusion
  • Pericarditis
  • Tamponade
  • Ventricular tachycardia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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