Left ventricular function after noninvasive cardiac ablation using proton beam therapy in a porcine model

Heart Rhythm. 2019 Nov;16(11):1710-1719. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2019.04.030. Epub 2019 Apr 18.


Background: Noninvasive cardiac ablation of ventricular tachycardia (VT) using radiotherapy has recently gained interest among electrophysiologists. The effects of left ventricular (LV) ablative radiation treatment on global LV function and volumes are unknown.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of noninvasive ablation on LV function over time.

Methods: Twenty domestic swine underwent proton beam treatment of LV sites in a dose-finding design and were followed for up to 40 weeks by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging at 4-week intervals. Doses investigated were either 40 Gy at 1 site (n = 8) or 30 Gy at 2 sites (n = 4) in the low-dose group and 40 Gy at 3 sites (n = 8) in the high-dose group.

Results: LV mean dose (13.2 ± 1.8 Gy vs 4.6 ± 1.8 Gy) and the volume receiving at least 20 Gy (V20Gy) (24.7% ± 4.8% vs 6.4% ± 3.0%) differed significantly between groups. Dose-dependent effects on left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and LV end-diastolic volume became manifest about 3 months after treatment. LVEF decline was correlated to mean dose (correlation coefficient ρ = -0.69; P = .008) and V20Gy (ρ = -0.66; P = .01), as was LV dilation (ρ = 0.72; P = .005; and ρ = 0.75, P = .003 respectively).

Conclusion: Possible adverse effects on LV function, seen about 3 months after treatment, are dose dependent. Therefore, precise target definition and focused energy delivery are paramount in catheter-free ablation.

Keywords: Cardiac function; Catheter-free ablation; Proton beam therapy; Radiation therapy; Ventricular tachycardia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Proton Therapy / methods*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Stroke Volume
  • Swine
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / radiotherapy*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ventricular Function, Left / radiation effects*