Twenty years after the introduction of alcohol septal ablation (ASA) for the treatment of obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the arrhythmogenicity of the ablation scar appears to be overemphasized. When systematically reviewing all studies comparing ASA with myectomy with long-term follow-up, (aborted) sudden cardiac death and mortality rates were found to be similarly low. The focus should instead shift toward lowering the rate of reinterventions and pacemaker implantations following ASA because, in this area, ASA still seems inferior to myectomy. Part of the reason for this difference is that ASA is limited by the route of the septal perforators, whereas myectomy is not. Improvement may be achieved by: 1) confining ASA to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy centers of excellence with high operator volumes; 2) improving patient selection using multidisciplinary heart teams; 3) use of (3-dimensional) myocardial contrast echocardiography for selecting the correct septal (sub)branch; and 4) use of appropriate amounts of alcohol for ASA.

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Journal of the American College of Cardiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Liebregts, M., Vriesendorp, P., & ten Berg, J. (2017). Alcohol Septal Ablation for Obstructive Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: A Word of Endorsement. Journal of the American College of Cardiology (Vol. 70, pp. 481–488). doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2017.02.080