for people ages 18 years and up (full criteria)
study started
estimated completion
Principal Investigator
by Kalyanam Shivkumar, MD, PhD (ucla)Marmar Vaseghi (ucla)
Photo of Kalyanam Shivkumar
Kalyanam Shivkumar



The purpose of this research study is to examine the effect of cardiac sympathetic denervation (CSD) surgery on life threatening abnormal heart rhythms called ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation that can lead to sudden cardiac death. Subjects will be asked to participate in this research study if they have recurrent ventricular tachycardia (at least one ICD shock for ventricular tachycardia) and have undergone at least one catheter ablation procedure or have ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation that is not ablatable. The goal of this study is to determine whether cardiac sympathetic denervation can prevent these abnormal heart rhythms from occurring and therefore, prevent, ICD shocks which are not only painful, but have been shown to reduce quality of life and/or lead to depression, particularly in the period immediately after the shock.

Official Title

Prophylactic Cardiac Sympathetic Denervation for Prevention of Ventricular Tachyarrhythmias (PREVENT VT)


The purpose of this study is to determine if bilateral cardiac sympathetic denervation (CSD) in addition to routine care is more effective than routine care for the treatment of ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation in patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) who continue to have episodes of VT despite drug therapy and when appropriate, at least one catheter ablation procedure. The CSD procedure involves removal of part of the cervical stellate ganglia and thoracic ganglia of level 2 to 4. These ganglia house the left and right sided nerves that feed the heart and have been implicated in the occurrence of fast abnormal rhythms that cause defibrillator shocks and sudden death. Stimulation of these nerves has been shown to increase the incidence of sudden death and fast abnormal heart rhythms that lead to internal defibrillator shocks called ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation. Removal of the ganglia of these nerves in animal and human studies has been shown to decrease the incidence of life threatening abnormal rhythms and sudden death.The procedure takes less than 45 minutes on each side and can be performed endoscopically. We are inviting patients to participate in this clinical trial who have undergone at least one catheter ablation procedure for ventricular tachycardia but have continued to experience recurrent arrhythmias (ICD shocks) or who have a type of ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation that can not be treated with catheter ablation procedures. Patients will be randomized in a 1:1 fashion to either routine care + cardiac sympathetic denervation (CSD) or routine care without cardiac sympathetic denervation. We are asking 40 individuals (approximate age range 18-80 years) who continue to experience ICD shocks to participate in this research study but only half these individual will be randomized to cardiac sympathetic denervation (CSD) surgery.


Sudden Cardiac Death Ventricular Tachycardia Ventricular Fibrillation Cardiomyopathy Internal cardiac defibrillator shocks Internal cardiac defibrillator therapies Cardiomyopathies Tachycardia Tachycardia, Ventricular Death, Sudden, Cardiac Death Cardiac Sympathetic Denervation (CSD) Routine Care


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18 years and up

  1. Appropriate ICD shock for VT after at least one catheter ablation of VT procedure, OR appropriate ICD shock for VT but not a candidate for catheter ablation of VT (i.e. patients with presence polymorphic VT or ventricular fibrillation, LV thrombus, VT arising from an inaccessible myocardial location).
  2. Presence of structural heart disease as defined as EF ≤ 50%, presence of ventricular scar as detected by imaging modalities or electroanatomic mapping, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, cardiac sarcoidosis, or arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.
  3. Patient is taking at least one anti-arrhythmic drug or has documented intolerance or toxicity to at least one anti-arrhythmic drug.
  4. Age greater than 18 years old.
  5. Able and willing to comply with all pre- and follow-up testing and requirements.
  6. Provision of signed informed consent and stated willingness to comply with all study procedures for duration of the study.

You CAN'T join if...

  1. Active ongoing cardiac ischemia as assessed by: ECG, cardiac enzymes, symptoms, coronary angiography with evidence of significant epicardial coronary stenosis (>70%), or stress testing. (Note: positive troponin assay due to ICD shocks is not an exclusion criterion).
  2. Any medical or non-medical condition likely to prevent completion of trial.
  3. Contraindication to cardiac sympathetic denervation (i.e. unlikely to tolerate general anesthesia, single-lung ventilation, severe pulmonary disease, or severe pulmonary hypertension) or previous cardiac sympathetic denervation procedure.
  4. Left ventricular assist device or status post orthotopic heart transplantation
  5. Severe thrombocytopenia (platelets < 50,000) or coagulopathy (INR > 2.0) that is not due to medications or a reversible cause.
  6. Women who are pregnant (as evidenced by pregnancy test if pre-menopausal).
  7. Unable or unwilling to comply with protocol requirements.
  8. NYHA class IV heart failure symptoms.
  9. Known channelopathy such as long QT syndrome and catecholaminergic polymorphic VT.
  10. . Presentation with slow VT (VT rate < 150 bpm).


  • UCLA Health accepting new patients
    Los Angeles California 90095 United States
  • Vanderbilt University not yet accepting patients
    Nashville Tennessee 37235 United States

Lead Scientists at University of California Health

  • Kalyanam Shivkumar, MD, PhD (ucla)
    Dr. Shivkumar is a physician scientist who serves as the director of the UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Center & EP Programs (since its establishment in 2002). He is a graduate of the UCLA STAR Program (class of 2000) and his field of specialization is interventional cardiac electrophysiology.
  • Marmar Vaseghi (ucla)


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, Los Angeles
Phase 3
Study Type
Last Updated