Long-Term Results of Radiofrequency Hot Balloon Ablation in Patients With Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation: Safety and Rhythm Outcomes

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Isolation of pulmonary veins (PVs) and the posterior left atrium (LA) can be safely performed by radiofrequency hot balloon (RHB)-based box isolation. However, data on long-term effects for the treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF) by the use of this method remain limited.

Methods and Results:

We treated 238 patients with paroxysmal AF (194 male; age. 62.6 ± 9.4 years) by RHB ablation. During 6.2-year (75 months) follow-up, 154 (64.7%) patients were free from atrial tachyarrhythmias (ATAs) without antiarrhythmic-drugs (AADs). We performed re-ablation in 69 of 84 patients with ATA recurrence (average 1.3 ± 0.6; median 1, total 91 procedures) using a 3D-mapping system and a conventional catheter. The sites of reconnection were observed at the PV in 61 of 69 (88.4%) patients and at the posterior LA in 58 of 69 (84.1%) patients. Finally, during mean follow-up of 4.6 ± 1.6 years, no-ATA episodes were detected in 201 (84.5%) patients without AADs. Independent predictors of ATA recurrence following a single procedure were heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HR: 2.67, 95%CI: 1.40–5.10, P = 0.003) and low estimated glomerular filtration rate (HR: 1.81, 95%CI: 1.11–2.93, P = 0.03; cut-off of 62.0 mL/min/1.73 m2). During the follow-up period, there were 4 (1.7%) patients with PV stenosis (>70% reduction in PV diameter); however, none of these cases required intervention. Phrenic nerve palsy was detected in 8 patients (3.4%), but resolved during 3 months in all cases.


RHB ablation can be effective during a long-term follow-up for patients with paroxysmal AF. Safety outcomes were within an acceptable range.

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