Cardiac radioablation-A systematic review

Heart Rhythm. 2020 Aug;17(8):1381-1392. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.03.013. Epub 2020 Mar 20.


Failure of drugs and catheter ablation procedures for the treatment of ventricular arrhythmias is still extremely relevant. Recently, stereotactic body radiotherapy has been introduced to treat therapy refractory patients. In this systematic review (International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews, CRD42019133212), we aimed to summarize electrophysiological and histopathological effects of radioablation in animals, patients, and extracted and perfused hearts. A systematic search was performed in OVID MEDLINE, OVID Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Web of Science, Google Scholar,, and World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (WHO ICTRP) from inception to September 2019. Identified records were independently screened for eligibility by 2 reviewers. Risk of bias and methodological quality were assessed using the SYRCLE, ROBINS-I, or Murad tool and tailored to the different study designs. We included 13 preclinical and 10 clinical publications. Large heterogeneity in study designs prompted a narrative synthesis approach. Baseline, (pre-)procedural details, outcome, target tissue analyses, and safety data were extracted and summarized. In animal studies evaluating electrophysiological parameters, radioablation induced a reduction in voltage/potential amplitude or bidirectional block in target areas in 93.2% of animals. Atrioventricular block (first to third degree) was induced in 78.3% of animals, and in studies evaluating ventricular arrhythmia inducibility, 75% reduction was achieved. In patients, predominantly ventricular tachycardias were targeted with >85% reduction in arrhythmia episodes during follow-up with an encouraging short-term safety profile. Preclinical and clinical evidence on the efficacy and safety of radioablation is limited in both quantity and quality. The results of radioablation for therapy refractory patients with ventricular tachycardia are promising, but further research is needed.

Keywords: Arrhythmias; Atrial fibrillation; Radioablation; Stereotactic body radiotherapy; Systematic review; Ventricular fibrillation; Ventricular tachycardia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Heart Conduction System / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / physiopathology
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / surgery*