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Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2013 Aug;6(4):769-75. doi: 10.1161/CIRCEP.113.000228. Epub 2013 Jun 7.

Increased incidence of esophageal thermal lesions using the second-generation 28-mm cryoballoon.

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Departments of Cardiology and Internal Medicine, Asklepios Klinik St. Georg, Hamburg, Germany.



Pulmonary vein isolation is an established treatment option for atrial fibrillation. To date, the incidence and quality of ablation-induced esophageal thermal lesions (ETLs) using the recently introduced second-generation cryoballoon (CB, ArcticFront Advance, Medtronic) is unknown.


In patients with drug-refractory paroxysmal atrial fibrillation or short-standing persistent atrial fibrillation, pulmonary vein (PV) isolation was performed using the second-generation CB. The endoluminal esophageal temperature was monitored via a temperature probe. After PV isolation, esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) was performed to assess the incidence of ETLs. In 50 patients (18 women; age, 61±11 years; left atrial diameter, 43±5 mm), successful CB-based PV isolation was performed. Lowest median balloon temperature and esophageal temperature for the right superior PV were -51°C and 35.8°C, -47°C and 35°C for the right inferior PV, -51°C and 34.4°C for the left superior PV, -48°C and 34.6°C for the left inferior PV, and -54°C and 34.5°C for the left common PV, respectively. EGD performed 2±1 days post ablation demonstrated superficial thermal lesions and thermal ulcerations in 1 of 50 (2%) and 5 of 50 (10%) patients, respectively. In patients with ETLs, during ≥1 freeze cycle the endoluminal esophageal temperature measured <3.0°C. All thermal lesions were in the healing process on repeat EGD 4±2 days after initial endoscopy.


Using the second-generation 28-mm CB, ETLs were detected in 6 of 50 (12%) patients. All ETLs were in the healing process on repeat EGD. An esophageal temperature safety cutoff may prove valuable in the prevention of ETLs and requires further evaluation.


ablation; atrial fibrillation; complications

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