In patients with post-myocardial infarction (post-MI) ventricular tachycardia (VT), the presence of myocardial calcification (MC) may prevent heating of a subepicardial VT substrate contributing to endocardial ablation failure. The aims of this study were to assess the prevalence of MC in patients with post-MI VT and evaluate the impact of MC on outcome after endocardial ablation.
Methods and results
In 158 patients, the presence of MC was retrospectively assessed on fluoroscopy recordings in seven standard projections obtained during pre-procedural coronary angiograms. Myocardial calcification, defined as a distinct radiopaque area that moved synchronously with the cardiac contraction, was detected in 30 patients (19%). After endocardial ablation, only 6 patients (20%) with MC were rendered non-inducible compared with 56 (44%) without MC (P = 0.033) and of importance, 8 (27%) remained inducible for the clinical VT [compared with 9 (6%) patients without MC; P = 0.003] requiring therapy escalation. After a median follow-up of 31 months, 61 patients (39%) had VT recurrence and 47 (30%) died. Patients with MC had a lower survival free from the composite endpoint of VT recurrence or therapy escalation at 24-month follow-up (26% vs. 59%; P = 0.003). Presence of MC (HR 1.69; P = 0.046), a lower LV ejection fraction (HR 1.03 per 1% decrease; P = 0.017), and non-complete procedural success (HR 2.42; P = 0.002) were independently associated with a higher incidence of VT recurrence or therapy escalation.
Myocardial calcification was present in 19% of post-MI patients referred for VT ablation and was associated with a high incidence of endocardial ablation failure.