Outcomes after cryoablation vs. radiofrequency in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation: impact of pulmonary veins anatomy

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Abstract

Aims

Pulmonary vein isolation is the mainstay of treatment in catheter ablation of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF). Cryoballoon ablation has been introduced more recently than radiofrequency ablation, the standard technique in most centres. Pulmonary veins frequently display anatomical variants, which may compromise the results of cryoballoon ablation. We aimed to evaluate the mid-term outcomes of cryoballoon ablation in an unselected population with paroxysmal AF from an anatomical viewpoint.

Methods and results

Consecutive patients with paroxysmal AF who underwent a first procedure of cryoballoon ablation or radiofrequency were enrolled in this single-centre study. All patients underwent systematic standardized follow-up. Comparisons between radiofrequency and cryoballoon ablation (Arctic Front™ or Arctic Front Advance™) were performed regarding safety and efficacy endpoints, according to pulmonary vein (PV) anatomical variants. A total of 687 patients were enrolled (376 radiofrequency and 311 cryoballoon ablation). Baseline characteristics and distribution of PV anatomical variants were generally similar in the groups. After a mean follow-up of 14 ± 8 months, there was no difference in the incidence of relapse (17.0% cryoballoon ablation vs. 14.1% radiofrequency, P = 0.25). We observed no interaction of PV anatomical variants on mid-term procedural success.

Conclusion

Our findings suggest that mid-term outcomes of cryoballoon ablation for paroxysmal AF ablation are similar to those of radiofrequency, regardless of PV anatomy. The presence of anatomical variants of PVs should not discourage the referral of patients with paroxysmal AF for cryoballoon ablation.

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