Double-balloon technique for retrograde venous ethanol ablation of ventricular arrhythmias in the absence of suitable intramural veins

Akanibo Da-Wariboko, Adi Lador, Liliana Tavares, Amish S. Dave, Paul A. Schurmann, Pter Peichl, Josef Kautzner, Giorgi Papiashvili, Miguel Valderrábano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Venous ethanol infusion via an occlusive balloon has been used as a bailout approach to treat ablation-refractory ventricular arrhythmias (VAs). Unfavorable venous anatomy (lack of intramural veins at the targeted site or collateral vein–ethanol shunting) limits its efficacy. Blocking collateral flow with a second balloon may optimize myocardial ethanol delivery. Objective: The purpose of this study was to validate the “double-balloon” approach to enhance ethanol delivery in cases of unfavorable venous anatomy. Methods: Eight patients referred after failed ablations (3 left ventricular [LV] summit, 5 scar-related ventricular tachycardia) underwent endocardial mapping and additional radiofrequency ablation without VA resolution. Coronary veins were mapped using a multipolar catheter or wire, and selective venograms were obtained. The double balloon was used when (1) distal collateral branches shunted flow away from the targeted region; (2) the target vein had optimal signals only proximally; or (3) a large vein was targeted that had multiple branches for a large area of interest. Results: Acute successful ethanol infusion myocardial delivery and resolution of VA was accomplished using the posterolateral LV veins (n = 2 patients, 3 procedures), lateral LV vein (n = 1), apical anterior interventricular vein (AIV; n = 1), middle cardiac vein (n = 1), and septal branches of the AIV (n = 3). At median follow-up of 313.5 days, 2 patients experienced recurrence. Conclusion: The double-balloon technique can enhance ethanol delivery to target isolated vein segments, block collateral flow, or target extensive areas, and can expand the utility of venous ethanol for treatment of VAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2126-2134
Number of pages9
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Angioplasty balloon
  • Catheter ablation
  • Coronary vein
  • Ethanol
  • Ventricular arrhythmia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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