Ablation better treatment for recurrent ventricular tachycardia
Catheter ablation had substantially better outcomes over aggressive drug therapy
A Canadian-led clinical trial has demonstrated that catheter ablation – a procedure used to treat dangerous heart rhythms by inserting wires into the heart to cauterize short circuits – is a better treatment option for recurrent ventricular tachycardia (VT) than increased drug therapy. VT is a rapid deadly heartbeat that often causes sudden death.
“VT caused by heart attack scar can be very difficult to deal with, and can have quite a severe impact on both survival and quality of life,” said Dr. John Sapp, principal investigator, CANet investigator, electrophysiologist at QEII Health Sciences Centre and professor of medicine at Dalhousie University. “Until now, we really didn’t know what the best treatment was when our first-line drug therapy wasn’t enough. Heart rhythm researchers across Canada and patients who suffer from VT worked together to discover that catheter ablation is a better option for most than increasing the drug dosages.”
The multicenter, multi-national study, Ventricular Tachycardia Ablation versus Enhanced Drug Therapy in Structural Heart Disease (VANISH), was published today in the New England Journal of Medicine and announced simultaneously at the late-breaking clinical trials session of the Annual Scientific Conference of the Heart Rhythm Society in San Francisco. VANISH was a randomized controlled trial of 259 patients who had prior heart attacks, and implantable cardioverter defibrillator and recurrent VT. The $2 million clinical research study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) with additional support from St. Jude Medical and Biosense Webster. This research was led from the QEII Health Sciences Centre, which coordinated the efforts of patients and researchers across the country and internationally.
Dr. Anthony Tang, electrophysiologist at London Health Sciences Centre, and professor of medicine at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry is the senior investigator of the VANISH trial. Dr. Tang is also the scientific director and CEO of the Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada (CANet). CANet investigators played a major role in the conception, execution and reporting of the study. The majority of the researchers involved in the VANISH trial are CANet investigators.
“CANet is going to play a key role in taking the high impact results of this research and changing clinical practice by leveraging our network of world-class electrophysiologists, clinicians, researchers, engineers, social scientists, policy-makers and industry partners,” said Dr. Tang. “CANet will bridge the gap by putting the research results into the hands of those that can use these findings to better treat Canadians with heart disease.”