Now that the implantable cardioverter defibrillator is available as a therapeutic option for the management of ventricular tachycardia (VT), some argue that there no longer should be a role for direct surgical intervention for this malignant arrhythmia. Rebuttal of this argument is difficult for the following reasons: (1) there are many patients who are candidates for implantable cardioverter defibrillator therapy but not for direct VT operation, and thus direct comparisons of the two therapies is difficult; (2) implantable cardioverter defibrillator therapy by definition is palliative, but a VT operation is curative in most instances; (3) in many electrophysiologic triage algorithms, implantation of a cardioverter defibrillator and VT operation are employed as alternative, not competitive, therapies, again making direct comparisons difficult; and (4) probably most importantly, there are misconceptions in the literature regarding the risks and benefits of direct VT surgical procedures as they are currently performed. In this brief review, we examine the currently available data on both sides of this argument.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine