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Mechanistic Insights Into Durable Pulmonary Vein Isolation Achieved by Second-Generation Cryoballoon Ablation

Background: The mechanism explaining the efficacy of cryoballoon ablation (CBA) for atrial fibrillation has not been clarified. Methods and Results: We compared lesion characteristics between patients in whom pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) was performed by CBA (n=56) and those by contact force (CF)-based RF ablation (n=56). We evaluated the 3-dimensional PV morphology before and after cryoballoon inflation. After PVI, a 3D left atrial voltage map was created. Pacing (10 mA and 2 ms) was performed within the low voltage area from the ablation line, and electrically unexcitable ablated tissue was identified. ATP-provoked dormant conduction after PVI occurred in 9 of the 224 (4%) PVs in the CBA group and in 13 of the 224 (6%) PVs in the CF group (P=0.3935). The inflated balloon stretched the PV from the original PV ostial surface by 7.13.5 mm, but at sites with (vs, sites without) residual PV potential/dormant conduction, the extent of the PV distension was reduced (4.04.0 mm vs. 7.23.4 mm, P<0.0001). The unexcitable ablated tissue around the PVs was significantly wider in CB patients than in CF patients (16.75.1 mm vs. 5.32.3 mm, P<0.0001). Conclusions: Use of the cryoballoon significantly distends the PV. Without this extensive distention, PVI may not be successful. CBA seems to yield wide unexcitable ablation zones. These factors seem to explain the durability of CBA lesions.

Credits: Yasuo Okumura, MD*; Ichiro Watanabe, MD*; Kazuki Iso, MD*; Keiko Takahashi, MD*; Koichi Nagashima, MD*; Kazumasa Sonoda, MD*; Hiroaki Mano, MD*; Naoko Yamaguchi, MD*; Rikitake Kogawa, MD*; Ryuta Watanabe, MD*; Masaru Arai, MD*; Kimie Ohkubo, MD*; Sayaka Kurokawa, MD*; Toshiko Nakai, MD*; Atsushi Hirayama, MD*

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Introduction to AFib
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