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Posts Tagged ‘clinical vt vs inducible vt’

Though heart is  primarily  known  as a  mechanical  organ , in reality   it is a vital  electrical organ as well . The entire mesh of electrical  pathway  from SA node to  Purkinje  fiber  would easily cross  a mile or two .Maintaining and protecting  such a  delicately  woven network  needs lots of  electrical sense  .  It is not surprising to note  , VT or VF  can be induced  virtually  in  every human heart  if stimulated rapidly. Electrocution  induced  by VF is  the typical example.Cardiac surgeons  do it regularly  before  surgery .

So , inducible  VT  in the EP  lab need to be  defined in a strict manner .

  •       VT must be triggered  by a  single stimuli  (or  two )
  •       Multiple sites should not be stimulated(ideally  single site , at most two )
  •       It should be sustained.
  •       Only mono-morphic VT has  significance
  •       Induced  p0lymorphic VT  has no clinical value.
  •       Pharmacological  stimulus  such as isoprenaline   can be used but reduces specificity.

*If a VT  rapidly degenerate  into VF  it  usually  means a polymorphic VT  while   unstable irregular  polymorphic VT   could be  same as   VF )

How do you make sure  what we induce in  EP lab is same as the clinical VT ?

This is the most difficult task for electro -physiologists. In real life setting VT is  often induced by ischemia hypoxia , local  acidosis and electrolytic imbalance. However  rarely mind this issue . In EP lab we induce  it  with  artificial electrodes  . Does it make sense to compare  these two totally different  set of triggers  in real life and a virtual EP life . Ideally  to confirm ischemic  VT  one has to induce ischemia  in EP lab and look for  VT . (Adenosine  stress ? )  Further ,  only re -entrant VTs  can be induced in EP lab by programmed stimulation . Automatic VTs can not be induced by stimulation .

The chances of inducing a VT in EP lab is  directily proportional to the aggression of the electro physiologists and patience  of  the  patient ! One can afford to use  more aggressive  protocols only   if a clinical VT was  recently the   documented .

 Electrical stress testing of heart

It may be tempting  to refer    induction of VT  in EP lab  as  electrical stress testing  for the heart. But fundamentally there is a difference  between this and  the conventional EST . Unlike exercise stress  test the  inducibility of VT highly unpredictable . It has far too many variables . (The surface area of contact , number , Intensity ,  site of stimuli , scar location , irritability of viable myocardium  ,  inertness of scarred myocardium ,  and finally the cellular milieu etc  )

Thoughts to ponder over Is it not  “a fundamentally a wrong concept”  to give importance  to inducible VT  ?

Why should we  treat a clinically non relevant inducible VT ? We do not know yet whether inducible VT in other wise normal LV function  has any long-term significance . Currently it makes   no sense   to intervene in VT  if the LV function is good and the episodes  are not clinical but only inducible.

Note: If there is severe LV dysfunction (EF < 30 % ) one can implant an  ICD without   an  EP study . ( Of course   to state more dramatically   without even single documented VT  !) MADIT 2

Final message .

A VT which is inducible in EP lab has no meaning ,  if the LV function is normal , while  even a  non-existent  (potential  )VT  in the setting of severe LV dysfunction is vitally important !

Though  we  differentiate cardiac function  into mechanical and electrical for academic purposes , it is astonishing to note   how the heart is able to function  as a  single unit  . We know today , the ultimate  outcome of   VT  is  not  dictated  by  electrical status of the heart rather , the mechanical ability  to  with -stand  sudden dis-organized  ventricular  contractions ( A ventricle with good contractile function has inherent  capacity  to extinguish most episodes  of VT .(Myocytes with inbuilt biological ICDs ?)

It is a million dolor question why some VT remain as non- sustained while others rapidly degenerate into  fast VT and VF thereafter

Reference

The two contrasting studies

The MUSTT (1999) trial exposed the limitation of   clinical utility of inducible VT . Multicenter Unsustained Tachycardia Trial (MUSTT) Investigators

While   MADIT 2  (2002)which recommends an ICD in every patients with  severe LV dysfunction following MI without even a EP study .

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