Comparison of Balloon Catheter Ablation Technologies for Pulmonary Vein Isolation: The Laser Versus Cryo Study

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Balloon catheters have been developed to facilitate pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF). We sought to compare the safety and efficacy of the cryoballoon (CB) and the laserballoon (LB) in a pilot study.

Methods and Results

One hundred and forty patients with drug-refractory PAF were prospectively allocated in a 1:1 fashion to undergo a PVI procedure with the 28 mm CB or the LB and were followed for 12 months using 3-day Holter ECG recording. The primary efficacy endpoint was a documented AF recurrence ≥30 seconds between 90 and 365 days after the index ablation.

Methods and Results

In total, 269 of 270 PVs (99.6%) and 270 of 273 PVs (98.9%) were acutely isolated in the CB and LB group, respectively. Mean procedural time was 136 ± 30 minutes for the CB group and 144 ± 33 minutes for the LB group (P = 0.13). Mean fluoroscopy time was longer in the CB group (21 ± 9 minutes vs 15 ± 6 minutes; P < 0.001). During 12 months follow-up, 37% of patients in the CB group and 27% in the LB group experienced an AF recurrence (P = 0.18). Phrenic nerve palsies occurred in 5.7% (CB) and 4.2% (LB) of patients, respectively.


Balloon catheters are a viable option to safely perform a PVI procedure in patients with drug-refractory PAF. Ninety-nine percent of PVs may be acutely isolated with a single balloon catheter. The AF free survival rate after a single ablation procedure was not statistically different between groups.

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