One method for treating paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) is cryoablation using the Arctic Front Advance™ cryoballoon catheter. As its name indicates, the Arctic Front Advance cryoballoon delivers a refrigerant through an inflatable balloon to freeze tissue and disable unwanted electrical circuits that contribute to PAF.
Arctic Front Advance is a safe, effective, efficient and straightforward medical device for treating PAF. This second generation technology builds upon the proven effectiveness of the original Arctic Front cryoballoon and the two technology platforms have been used to treat over 100,000 patients in more than 800 centers worldwide. Because of its balloon shape, Arctic Front Advance allows physicians to reach and treat pulmonary veins (the site of unwanted electrical currents which trigger your AF) quickly and efficiently. As with any medical procedure, there are benefits and risks with catheter ablation.
Many patients who were treated with Arctic Front Advance cryoballoon experience a welcome improvement in their quality of life as unpleasant symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and weakness lessen or disappear.
Cryoablation prevents unwanted electrical currents from traveling from the pulmonary veins (large blood vessels that carry blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart) and spreading to the atria (the upper chambers of the heart). This is done with a technique known as pulmonary vein isolation that targets the tissue where the veins and the atria connect and prevents it from spreading unwanted electrical currents. The Arctic Front Advance cryoballoon catheter was developed specifically to achieve pulmonary vein isolation.
In the procedure, the physician makes a small cut in the groin area through which to insert the catheter. The physician threads the catheter to the left atrium of the heart. Then he/she creates a puncture in the wall that separates the left and right sides of the heart. The puncture provides access to the left atrium. The cryoballoon catheter is introduced into the left atrium. The physician inflates the balloon and moves it to the opening of the pulmonary vein. The goal is to close off the opening of the pulmonary vein completely, which stops the flow of blood between the atrium and the vein (this is called occlusion). Once occlusion is confirmed, the physician introduces liquid refrigerant into the balloon. The refrigerant evaporates and removes heat from the heart tissue at the opening of the pulmonary vein where the balloon is in contact with it. As a result, the tissue is scarred and may no longer spread the electrical currents that cause atrial fibrillation.
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