Surgical septal myectomy or alcohol septal ablation: which approach offers better outcomes for patients with hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy?

Shi Sum Poon, Mark Field, Dhiraj Gupta, Duke Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Summary A best evidence topic in cardiac surgery was written according to a structured protocol. The question addressed was whether surgical septal myectomy (SM) is more beneficial than alcohol septal ablation (ASA) in patients with hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy. Altogether 218 articles were found using the reported search, of which 15 studies represented the best evidence to answer the clinical question. There were 14 observational studies and 1 meta-analysis study. The authors, journal, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes and results of these articles are tabulated. Surgical SM was generally performed in younger patients whereas percutaneous ASA was favoured in patients with advanced age and significant co-morbidities. In a large study comprising 716 patients, the reduction of median residual left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) gradient at 3 months was comparable after ASA (102 ± 52-10 mmHg) and SM (92 ± 39-9 mmHg). The New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class and symptomatic improvement for either approach was comparable. Findings from the meta-analysis study showed that patients who underwent ASA had a higher incidence of post-procedure device implantation (odds ratio 3.09; P < 0.00001), as reported in 6 other studies. The risk of permanent pacemaker insertion during follow-up (FU) varied between 2.4-12.5% in SM and 1.7-22.0% in ASA. Isolated surgical myectomy and ASA are safe and effective in abolishing outflow obstruction, although the resolution of LVOT pressure gradient is more complete with surgery. The post-procedural and late mortality rates between the 2 groups are consistently low and comparable in carefully selected patients. Nonetheless, ASA is associated with the increased likelihood of complications such as permanent pacemaker implantation, early sustained-VT and VF, and re-intervention. Overall, when performed by experienced cardiologists and surgeons, both techniques are safe and effective in most cases and therefore treatment should be offered based on patient choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)951-961
Number of pages11
JournalInteractive cardiovascular and thoracic surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Alcohol septal ablation
  • Hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy
  • Surgical septal myectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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