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J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2010 Jul;21(7):731-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8167.2009.01703.x. Epub 2010 Feb 1.

The permanency of pulmonary vein isolation using a balloon cryoablation catheter.

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Cardiac Arrhythmia Services of the Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, New York 10029, USA.



Because of its technical feasibility and presumed safety benefits, balloon cryoablation is being increasingly employed for pulmonary vein (PV) isolation. While acute isolation has been demonstrated in most patients, little data are available on the chronic durability of cryoballoon lesions.


Twelve atrial fibrillation patients underwent PV isolation using either a 23-mm or 28-mm cryoballoon. For each vein, after electrical isolation was verified with the use of a circular mapping cathether, 2 bonus balloon ablation lesions were placed. Gaps in balloon occlusion were overcome using either a spot cryocatheter or a "pull-down" technique. A prespecified second procedure was performed at 8-12 weeks to assess for long-term PV isolation. Acute PV isolation was achieved in all PVs in the patient cohort (n = 48 PVs), using the cryoballoon alone in 47/48 PVs (98%); a "pull-down" technique was employed for 5 PVs (1 right superior pulmonary vein, 2 right inferior pulmonary veins, and 2 left inferior pulmonary veins). The gap in the remaining vein was ablated with a spot cryocatheter. During the second mapping procedure, 42 of 48 PVs (88%) remained isolated. One vein had reconnected in 2 patients, while 2 veins had reconnected in another 2 patients. All PVs initially isolated with the "pull-down" technique remained isolated at the second procedure.


Cryoballoon ablation allows for durable PV isolation with the use of a single balloon. With maintained chronic isolation in most PVs, it may represent a significant step toward consistent and lasting ablation procedures.

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