Worldwide, ∼4 million people die from sudden cardiac death every year caused in more than half of the cases by ischaemic cardiomyopathy (ICM). Prevention of sudden cardiac death after myocardial infarction by implantation of a cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is the most common, even though not curative, therapy to date. Optimized ICD programming should be strived for in order to decrease the incidence of ICD interventions. Catheter ablation reduces the recurrence of ventricular tachycardias (VTs) and is an important adjunct to sole ICD-based treatment or pharmacological antiarrhythmic therapy in patients with ICM, as conclusively demonstrated by seven randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in the last two decades. However, none of the conducted trials was powered to reveal a survival benefit for ablated patients as compared to controls. Whereas thorough consideration of an early approach is necessary following two recent RCTs (PAUSE-SCD, BERLIN VT), catheter ablation is particularly recommended in patients with recurrent VT after ICD therapy. In this context, novel, pathophysiologically driven ablation strategies referring to deep morphological and functional substrate phenotyping based on high-resolution mapping and three-dimensional visualization of scars appear promising. Emerging concepts like sympathetic cardiac denervation as well as radioablation might expand the therapeutical armamentarium especially in patients with therapy-refractory VT. Randomized controlled trials are warranted and on the way to investigate how these translate into improved patient outcome. This review summarizes therapeutic strategies currently available for the prevention of VT recurrences, the optimal timing of applicability, and highlights future perspectives after a PAUSE in BERLIN.
Keywords: Antiarrhythmic drugs; Catheter ablation; Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator; Ischaemic cardiomyopathy; Sudden cardiac death; Ventricular tachycardia.
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