Access to the epicardial space is fundamental to several cardiac procedures. While traditional indications include catheter ablation of ventricular arrhythmias and accessory pathways, novel indications include left atrial appendage occlusion, esophageal protection, mapping and ablation during atrial fibrillation procedures, implantation of epicardial pacing leads, and phrenic nerve displacement to facilitate safe ablation of atrial and ventricular arrhythmias. Accessing the epicardial space safely is a major challenge requiring intimate knowledge of cardiac anatomy, extensive training, and expertise. Over the past years, multiple technological advances have led to significant improvements in epicardial access success and safety. Important examples of such advances include CO2 insufflation through the coronary sinus or the right atrial appendage, pressure sensor needle, computed tomography, cardiac magnetic resonance, and electroanatomic mapping–guided epicardial access. In addition, we provide special maneuvers to minimize inadvertent right ventricular perforation.
- Epicardial ablation
- Epicardial access
- Phrenic nerve protection
- Right ventricular perforation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)