One method for treating atrial fibrillation (AF) is cryoablation using the Arctic Front Advance™ Cryoballoon catheter. The cryoballoon delivers a refrigerant through an inflatable balloon to freeze tissue and disable unwanted electrical signals that contribute to AF.
The cryoballoon is a safe, effective, and efficient medical device for treating AF. More than 650,000 patients in over 80 countries worldwide have been treated with the cryoballoon.
In 2016, the FIRE AND ICE clinical trial demonstrated that cryoballoon ablation is as safe and effective as radiofrequency (RF) ablation. A secondary analysis of the data showed that cryoablation led to 33% fewer repeat ablations, which means that patients are less likely to require a second procedure. This analysis also demonstrated significantly fewer cardiovascular hospitalizations after an initial ablation procedure with the cryoballoon vs. radiofrequency catheters.
Patients treated with the Arctic Front Advance Cryoballoon may experience an improvement in their quality of life as unpleasant symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and weakness lessen or disappear.
Cryoablation prevents unwanted electrical signals 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 the spread of unwanted electrical signals. The Arctic Front Advance Cryoballoon catheter was developed specifically to achieve pulmonary vein isolation.
Watch a narrated animation of what happens during a cryoballoon ablation.
The cryoablation procedure can be summarized as follows:
The physician makes a small incision in the groin area through which to insert the catheter. To provide access to the left atrium, he/she must create a puncture in the wall that separates the left and right sides of the heart. The cryoballoon is then advanced to the left atrium.
The physician inflates the balloon and moves it to the opening of the pulmonary vein. The goal is to temporarily close off the opening of the pulmonary vein completely, which stops blood flow between the atrium and the vein (this is called occlusion).
When occlusion is confirmed, the physician introduces liquid refrigerant into the balloon. At the opening of the pulmonary vein where the balloon makes contact, the refrigerant removes heat from the heart tissue. As a result, the tissue is scarred and may no longer transmit the electrical signals that cause atrial fibrillation.
Watch the video below and see how the Arctic Front Advance Cryoballoon is used to treat atrial fibrillation.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.