OBJECTIVES: This study was designed to compare the hemodynamic efficacy of nonsurgical septal reduction therapy (NSRT) by intracoronary ethanol with standard therapy (surgical myectomy) for the treatment of hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HOCM). BACKGROUND: Nonsurgical septal reduction therapy has gained interest as a new treatment modality for patients with drug-refractory symptoms of HOCM; however, its benefits in comparison to surgery are unknown. METHODS: Forty-one consecutive NSRT patients at Baylor College of Medicine with one-year follow-up were compared with age- and gradient-matched septal myectomy patients at the Mayo Clinic. All patients had left ventricular outflow obstruction with a resting gradient ≥40 mm Hg and none had concomitant procedures. RESULTS: There were no baseline differences in New York Heart Association class, severity of mitral regurgitation, use of cardiac medications or exercise capacity. One death occurred during NSRT because of dissection of the left anterior descending artery. At one year, all improvements in both groups were similar. After surgical myectomy, more patients were on medications (p < 0.05) and there was a higher incidence of mild aortic regurgitation (p < 0.05). After NSRT, the incidence of pacemaker implantation for complete heart block was higher (22% vs. 2% in surgery; p = 0.02). However, seven of the nine pacemakers in the NSRT group were implanted before a modified ethanol injection technique and the use of contrast echocardiography. CONCLUSIONS: Nonsurgical septal reduction therapy resulted in a significantly higher incidence of complete heart block, but the risk was reduced with contrast echocardiography and slow ethanol injection. Surgical myectomy resulted in a significantly higher incidence of mild aortic regurgitation. Nonsurgical septal reduction therapy, guided by contrast echocardiography, is an effective procedure for treating patients with HOCM. The hemodynamic and functional improvements at one year are similar to those of surgical myectomy.
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