AIMS: The aim of this study was to analyse tamponades following electrophysiological procedures regarding frequency and mortality in a high-volume centre and to identify independent predictors for severe tamponades.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We performed a retrospective study on 34 982 consecutive patients undergoing diagnostic electrophysiological studies or catheter ablation of cardiac arrhythmias. The combined endpoint was defined as severe tamponade. Criteria for severe tamponade included surgical repair, repeat pericardiocentesis, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, intrahospital death or death during follow-up, and thrombo-embolic events or complications due to therapeutic management. Multivariate analysis was performed to identify independent predictors for severe tamponade. A total of 226 tamponades were identified. Overall frequency of tamponades was 0.6%. Procedures requiring epicardial approach had the highest rate of tamponades (9.4%). Twenty-nine patients with tamponade underwent surgery (12.8% of all tamponades and 21.4% of tamponades during epicardial procedures). Overall tamponade-related mortality was 0.03% (9 deaths). Fifty-six patients (24.8%) experienced severe tamponade. Independent risk factors for severe tamponades were endocardial ablation of ventricular tachycardia, epicardial approach, balloon device ablation, high aspiration volume during pericardiocentesis and structural heart disease.
CONCLUSION: The frequency of tamponades is strongly dependent on the type of procedure performed. Overall tamponade-related mortality was low but significantly higher in patients undergoing epicardial procedures. Surgical backup should be considered for patients undergoing complex ventricular tachycardia ablation and left atrial ablation procedures.