Prevalence of Esophageal Ulceration After Atrial Fibrillation Ablation with the Hot Balloon Ablation Catheter: What is the Value of Esophageal Cooling?

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Abstract

Background:

Little is known about luminal esophageal temperature (LET) monitoring during catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF) using the radiofrequency hot balloon (RHB) technology.

Objective:

The aim of this study is to investigate the impact of the use of a unique esophageal cooling method during RHB ablation.

Methods and Results:

In this observational study, 318 consecutive patients (231 men; mean age, 63 ± 9 years) with symptomatic, drug-refractory, paroxysmal (n = 183) or persistent (n = 135) AF underwent RHB ablation with LET monitoring followed by a postprocedural, nonsymptom-driven esophageal endoscopy within 3 days of the ablation procedure. The patients have been divided into 3 groups. The first 22 patients treated are in Group A (n = 22) and had only LET monitoring without cooling of the esophagus. In Groups B (n = 128) and C (n = 168), patients had LET monitoring with cooling of the esophagus when the LET exceeded 43 °C and 39 °C, by infusion of cooled saline mixed with Gastrographin or Iopamidol, respectively. Group A had a higher risk of esophageal ulceration among the 3 groups (P < 0.0001). Saline infusion cooling initiated when the LET exceeded 43 °C (Group B) was not as safe as saline infusion cooling initiated when the LET exceeded 39 °C (Group C), demonstrated by the Group C minimum ulceration score and LET measurements while ablating the left superior pulmonary vein (LSPV) and left inferior pulmonary vein (LIPV) (P < 0.0001).

Conclusion:

Cooling the esophagus by a mix of Iopamidol and saline infusion when the LET exceeds 39 °C during RHB ablation may decrease the incidence and severity of esophageal thermal injury.(J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol, Vol. 25, pp. 686-692, July 2014)

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