Percutaneous Epicardial Approach to Catheter Ablation of Cardiac Arrhythmias

Arash Aryana, Roderick Tung, André d'Avila

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Since their introduction >2 decades ago, percutaneous catheter-based epicardial mapping and ablation have become widely adopted by cardiac electrophysiologists around the world. Although epicardial mapping has been used for catheter ablation of a wide variety of cardiac arrhythmias, its most common use is for ablation of intramural and subepicardial substrates that give rise to ventricular tachycardia, particularly in patients with nonischemic cardiomyopathy. As such, the subxiphoid percutaneous epicardial approach has emerged as an important adjunct, and, in some cases, is the preferred strategy in this regard. This review discusses the rationale and indications for epicardial catheter mapping and/or ablation. This paper also reviews the prevalence of epicardial arrhythmias and their electrocardiographic criteria. In addition, it examines the anatomy of the pericardium and commonly used epicardial access techniques, as well as the optimal methodologies for epicardial mapping and ablation and the impact of epicardial fat. Finally, this review discusses the potential of the various complications associated with the percutaneous epicardial approach, in addition to patient-specific risk factors, and potential strategies to mitigate the risk of complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalJACC: Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • cardiac arrhythmia
  • catheter ablation
  • epicardial
  • mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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