Cryoablation is as effective as radio-frequency ablation in treating paroxysmal atrial fibrillations, researchers reported today at the Heart Rhythm Society’s annual meeting in Boston.
The 5-year Freeze AF study involved 315 patients treated for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, who were randomly assigned to either cryoablation or irrigated RF ablation treatments.
The study found that cryoablation was as effective as standard ablation in combination with 3D mapping, in terms of success and need for retreatment. Cryoablation treatments also recorded faster procedure times but required higher x-ray dosages for verification.
"It’s faster, regarding to procedure time, but it takes higher X-ray dosages to prove the balloon’s occlusion and has a higher complication rate due to a higher rate of phrenic palsies," Dr. Armin Luik of Staedtisches Klinkum Karlsruhe of Germany said today at the conference. "This is pretty in line with all the published data. All the phrenic nerve palsy [patients] recovered within 12 months, so we have no phrenic nerve palsies that lasted longer than 12 months. And 6 out of 9 of the phrenic nerve palsy patients recovered before the 6-month follow up."
Retreatment occurred in both groups at a rate of roughly 20%, Luik said – 19.9% for cryoablation versus 19.5% for the RF arm. The study did not take into account newer RF technologies, such as contact force-sensing catheters, he noted, because the study started in 2009 when those devices didn’t exist.