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Stellate ganglion block catheters for refractory electrical storm: a retrospective cohort and care pathway


Background Electrical storm can be challenging to treat, requiring a multidisciplinary team to coordinate medical management and invasive procedures. As the stellate ganglion provides efferent sympathetic outflow to the myocardium, stellate ganglion blocks (SGB) can be used to combat ventricular arrhythmias that arise from sympathetic overactivity. Data are scarce regarding SGB catheters as a treatment for electrical storm. We reviewed our use of SGB catheters for refractory electrical storm using our pathway collaboratively developed by critical care, cardiology, and regional anesthesia teams.

Methods We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients who underwent an SGB for electrical storm between January 2020 and April 2022 in our cardiovascular intensive care unit. The primary outcome was the sustained cessation of electrical storm for 24 hours.

Results Upon chart review, 27 patients were identified and 11 met inclusion criteria. Cessation of electrical storm for 24 hours was achieved in 90% (n=10) of patients after left SGB. Similarly, 90% (n=10) had no documented episodes of ventricular arrhythmias requiring intervention within 6 hours after SGB.

Conclusions SGBs can interrupt or treat electrical storm. SGB catheters allow for prolonged arrhythmia cessation without repeated blocks and decrease the risk of repeat episodes of ventricular arrhythmias.

  • Autonomic Nerve Block
  • Critical Care
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care

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