Background: Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) has been reported as a safe and efficient therapy for treating refractory ventricular tachycardia (VT) despite optimal medical treatment and catheter ablation. However, data on the use of SBRT in patients with electrical storm (ES) is lacking. The aim of this study was to assess the clinical outcomes associated with SBRT in the context of ES.
Methods: This retrospective study included patients who underwent SBRT in the context of ES from March 2020 to March 2021 in one tertiary center (CHU Lille). The target volume was delineated according to a predefined workflow. The efficacy was assessed with the following end points: sustained VT recurrence, VT reduced with antitachycardia pacing, and implantable cardioverter defibrillator shock.
Results: Seventeen patients underwent SBRT to treat refractory VT in the context of ES (mean 67±12.8 age, 59% presenting ischemic heart disease, mean left ventricular ejection fraction: 33.7± 9.7%). Five patients presented with ES related to incessant VT. Among these 5 patients, the time to effectiveness ranged from 1 to 7 weeks after SBRT. In the 12 remaining patients, VT recurrences occurred in 7 patients during the first 6 weeks following SBRT. After a median 12.5 (10.5-17.8) months follow-up, a significant reduction of the VT burden was observed beyond 6 weeks (-91% [95% CI, 78-103]), P<0.0001). The incidence of implantable cardioverter defibrillator shock and antitachycardia pacing was 36% at 1 year.
Conclusions: SBRT is associated with a significant reduction of the VT burden in the event of an ES; however, prospective randomized control trials are needed. In patients without incessant VT, recurrences are observed in half of patients during the first 6 weeks. VT tolerance and implantable cardioverter defibrillator programming adjustments should be integrated as part of an action plan defined before SBRT for each patient.
Keywords: catheter ablation; defibrillator; heart failure; radiotherapy; tachycardia.