BackgroundContact force-sensing technology has become a widely used addition to catheter ablation procedures. Neither the optimal contact force required to achieve adequate lesion formation in the ventricle, nor the impact of left ventricular access route on contact force has been fully clarified.Patients and methodsConsecutive patients (n = 24) with ischemic cardiomyopathy who underwent ablation for scar-related ventricular tachycardia were included in the study. All ablations (n = 25) were performed using irrigated contact force-sensing catheters (Smart Touch, Biosense Webster). Effective lesion formation was defined as electrical unexcitability post ablation at sites which were electrically excitable prior to ablation (unipolar pacing at 10 mA, 2 ms pulse width). We explored the contact force which achieved effective lesion formation and the impact of left ventricular access route (retrograde aortic or transseptal) on the contact force achieved in various segments of the left ventricle. Scar zone was defined as bipolar signal amplitude < 0.5 mV.ResultsAmong 427 ablation points, effective lesion formation was achieved at 201 points (47.1%). Contact force did not predict effective lesion formation in the overall group. However, within the scar zone, mean contact force ≥ 10 g was significantly associated with effective lesion formation [OR 3.21 (1.43, 7.19) P = 0.005]. In the 12-segment model of the left ventricle, the retrograde approach was associated with higher median contact force in the apical anterior segment (31 vs 19 g; P = 0.045) while transseptal approach had higher median force in the basal inferior segment (25 vs 15 g; P = 0.021). In the 4-segment model, the retrograde approach had higher force in the anterior wall (28 vs 16 g; P = 0.004) while the transseptal approach had higher force in the lateral wall (21 vs 18 g; P = 0.032). There was a trend towards higher force in the inferior wall with the transseptal approach, but this was not statistically significant (20 vs 15 g; P = 0.063).ConclusionsIn patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy, a mean contact force of 10 g or more within the scar zone had the best correlation with electrical unexcitability post ablation in our study. The retrograde aortic approach was associated with better contact force over the anterior wall while use of a transseptal approach had better contact force over the lateral wall.