Femoral venous pressure waveform as indicator of phrenic nerve injury in the setting of second-generation cryoballoon ablation

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Femoral venous pressure waveform (VPW) analysis has been recently described as a novel method to assess phrenic nerve function during atrial fibrillation ablation procedures by means of the cryoballoon technique. In this study, we sought to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of this technique, with respect to the incidence of phrenic nerve injury (PNI), in comparison with the traditional abdominal palpation technique alone.


Consecutive patients undergoing second-generation cryoballoon ablation (CB-A) from June 2014 to June 2015 were retrospectively analyzed. Diagnosis of PNI was made if any reduced motility or paralysis of the hemidiaphragm was detected on fluoroscopy.


During the study period, a total of 350 consecutive patients (man 67%, age 57.2 ± 12.9 years) were enrolled (200 using traditional phrenic nerve assessment and 150 using VPW monitoring). The incidence of PNI in the overall population was 8.0% (28/350); of these, eight were impending PNI (2.3%), 14 transient (4.0%), and six persistent (1.7%). Patients having undergone CB-A with traditional assessment experienced 18 phrenic nerve palsies (9.0%) vs two in ‘VPW monitoring’ group (1.3%; P = 0.002). Specifically, the former presented 12 transient (6.0%) and six persistent (3.0%) phrenic nerve palsies, and the latter exhibited two transient (1.3%; P = 0.03) and no persistent (0%; P = 0.04) phrenic nerve palsies.


In conclusion, this novel method assessing the VPW for predicting PNI is inexpensive, easily available, with reproducible measurements, and appears to be more effective than traditional assessment methods.

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