Left Cardiac Sympathetic Denervation for Long QT Syndrome: 50 Years' Experience Provides Guidance for Management

JACC Clin Electrophysiol. 2022 Mar;8(3):281-294. doi: 10.1016/j.jacep.2021.09.002. Epub 2021 Oct 27.


Objectives: This study sought to report our single-center experience with left cardiac sympathetic denervation (LCSD) for long QT syndrome (LQTS) since 1973.

Background: LCSD is still underutilized because clinicians are often uncertain whether to use it versus an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).

Methods: We performed LCSD in 125 patients with LQTS (58% women, mean QT interval corrected for frequency [QTc] 527 ± 60 ms, 90% on beta blockers) with a follow-up of 12.9 ± 10.3 years. They were retrospectively divided into 4 groups according to the clinical/genetic status: very high risk (n = 18, symptomatic in the first year of life or with highly malignant genetics), with aborted cardiac arrest (ACA) (n = 31), with syncope and/or ICD shocks on beta blockers (n = 45), in primary prevention (n = 31).

Results: After LCSD, 17% in the very high risk group remained asymptomatic, compared with 52%, 47%, and 97% in the other 3 groups (P < 0.0001), with an overall 86% decrease in the mean yearly cardiac event rate (P < 0.0001). Among 45 patients with only syncope/ICD shocks before LCSD, none had ACA/sudden death as first symptom after LCSD and a 6-month post-LCSD QTc <500 ms predicted excellent outcome. Patients with a QTc ≥500 ms have a 50% chance of shortening it by an average of 60 ms. LCSD results are not affected by common genotypes.

Conclusions: We provide definitive evidence for the long-term efficacy of LCSD in LQTS. The degree of antiarrhythmic protection is influenced by patient's specificity and amount of QTc shortening. This novel approach to the analysis of the outcome allows cardiologists to rationally decide and tailor their management strategies to the individual features of their patients.

Keywords: cardiac sympathetic denervation; genetics; implantable cardioverter-defibrillator; long QT syndrome; sudden death; sympathetic nervous system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Long QT Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Long QT Syndrome* / surgery
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sympathectomy / adverse effects
  • Sympathectomy / methods
  • Syncope / etiology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists