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J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2018 Jun;29(6):932-943. doi: 10.1111/jce.13607. Epub 2018 May 9.

Atrial fibrillation ablation using cryoballoon technology: Recent advances and practical techniques.

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CCB, Cardioangiologisches Centrum Bethanien Frankfurt am Main, Medizinische Klinik III, Agaplesion Markus Krankenhaus, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Atrial fibrillation (AF) affects 1-2% of the population, and its prevalence is estimated to double in the next 50 years as the population ages. AF results in impaired patients' life quality, deteriorated cardiac function, and even increased mortality. Antiarrhythmic drugs frequently fail to restore sinus rhythm. Catheter ablation is a valuable treatment approach for AF, even as a first-line therapy strategy in selected patients. Effective electrical pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) is the cornerstone of all AF ablation strategies. Use of radiofrequency (RF) catheter in combination of a three-dimensional electroanatomical mapping system is the most established ablation approach. However, catheter ablation of AF is challenging even sometimes for experienced operators. To facilitate catheter ablation of AF without compromising the durability of the pulmonary vein isolation, "single shot" ablation devices have been developed; of them, cryoballoon ablation, is by far the most widely investigated. In this report, we review the current knowledge of AF and discuss the recent evidence in catheter ablation of AF, particularly cryoballoon ablation. Moreover, we review relevant data from the literature as well as our own experience and summarize the key procedural practical techniques in PVI using cryoballoon technology, aiming to shorten the learning curve of the ablation technique and to contribute further to reduction of the disease burden.


atrial fibrillation; catheter ablation; cryoablation; phrenic nerve damage; rhythm control


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