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Improved Resource Utilization With Similar Efficacy During Early Adoption of Cryoballoon Pulmonary Vein Isolation as Compared to Radiofrequency Ablation for Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation


Background: Cryoballoon pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) is an alternative to radiofrequency (RF) PVI for the treatment of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF).  Treatment effect, complication rates, and hospital length of stay are not well established with early use of cryoballoon PVI as compared to more experienced performance of RF PVI.

Methods: We reviewed the early experience of cryoballoon PVIs for paroxysmal AF performed by 3 operators at our institution compared to their most recent RF PVIs.  All repeat procedures were excluded.  Patients were assessed for recurrence of AF at 6 months after the procedure, including a 3-month blanking period.  Complications, procedure time, and hospital length of stay were recorded. 

Results:  Final analysis included 50 cryoballoon PVIs and 50 RF PVIs.  There was no significant difference in baseline characteristics or percentage of patients wearing a home monitor (80% for cryoballoon vs 80% for RF). Symptomatic improvement was experienced by 96% of cryoballoon PVI as compared to 86% of RF PVI patients (p=0.08).  Freedom from AF at 6 months was similar between the two groups (70% for cryoballoon and 70% for RF, p=1).  Complications were seen in 6% of cryoballoon procedures as compared to 10% of RF procedures (p=0.46).  Hospital length of stay was significantly shorter in the cryoballoon group (1.6 vs 3.4 nights, p=0.003).

Conclusion: At the time of its adoption, cryoballoon PVI is associated with shorter procedure times and hospital length of stay as compared to RF PVI in experienced operators while maintaining similar efficacy outcomes and complication rates.

Credits: Donald Siddoway; Mati Friehling; Andrew Voigt; Samir Saba; Sandeep Jain



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