Cryoablation for Atrial Fibrillation
There is a slightly newer style ablation treatment for Atrial Fibrillation called Cryoablation.
With Cryoablation, a supercooled catheter is used (cooled by nitrous oxide gas), and the tissue is frozen to -1060;°C. This provides the same result as radiofrequency ablation but does not carry the same risk of unwanted and sometimes dangerous collateral tissue damage. For the doctor (electrophysiologist) If you freeze the tissue and then realize you are in a dangerous spot, you can halt freezing the tissue and allow the tissue to spontaneously rewarm and the tissue is the same as if you never touched it.
If after freezing the tissue to -1060;°C, you get the desired result, then you freeze the tissue down to a temperature of -7360;°C and you permanently ablate the tissue and cause the needed “scar” that blocks the errant electrical signals that are causing the Afib.
After a single procedure, more than 50% of patients with an otherwise normal heart can enjoy freedom from arrhythmias according to studies that have followed patients typically for one year. With two or more procedures, the efficacy can be as high as 80 to 90%.
As with any “newer” procedure b sure to ask your doctor about his/her experience with cryoablation for afib. The equipment and knowledge is somewhat different for this type of ablation.
The latest information on Cryoablation for Atrial Fibrillation may suggest that it is somewhat less effective at stopping afib on the first ablation. I expect that this result will become less of a problem as more doctors gain experience performing the procedure.
Dr. Charles Lanzarotti, cardiac electrophysiologist at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare – St. Francis, explains what atrial fibrillation is and how a new, innovative type of ablation for Afib – Cryoablation.
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