Cryo-Ablation Therapy Reduces A-Fib Symptoms


January 13, 2011

The Arctic Front Cardiac CryoAblation Catheter system, by Medtronic, is indicated to treat drug refractory recurrent symptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF).

Unlike traditional ablation treatments that use radiofrequency, or heat, to destroy faulty electrical circuits in the heart, the balloon-based technology ablates cardiac tissue through the use of a coolant, which is delivered through a catheter. This freezing technology allows the catheter to adhere to the tissue during ablation, allowing for greater stability.

The cryoballoon treatment involves a minimally invasive procedure that creates circumferential lesions around the pulmonary vein, which is the source of erratic electrical signals that cause the irregular heartbeat. It is an option for patients who have found that medication alone does not control their episodes of rapid heart rhythm that start and stop suddenly for minutes or days at a time.

Clinical trials found that 70 percent of patients treated with the cryoballoon were free from A-fib after one year. Patients in the hands of physicians with more extensive experience with the procedure fared even better with a 90 percent cure rate. Patients experienced a significant reduction of symptoms, a decrease in the use of drug therapy and substantial improvements in both physical and mental quality-of-life factors.

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