Introduction: The 28 mm cryoballoon catheter is a device used for pulmonary vein isolation (PVI). The aim of this study was to evaluate the extent of the ablation in the antral regions of the left atrium.
Methods and results: Eighteen patients with drug refractory, symptomatic, paroxysmal AF were enrolled. A 3D electroanatomic reconstruction of the left atrium was made before and after successful PVI with the 28 mm cryoballoon. Markers were placed at the ostium. Sixteen patients were mapped. Fourteen patients had 4 veins each, and 2 patients had a common ostium of the left sided veins. All separate ostia were isolated in the antral region. The two common ostia showed ostial isolation. There was a significant difference in vein size between the common (29 and 31 mm) and the separate ostia (19 +/- 4 mm) (p < 0.01). The performance of an additional segmental ablation if balloon PVI did not eliminate all electrical activity, did not influence the extent of the ablation. The earliest left atrial activation during sinus rhythm was located in the superior septal region before ablation in all patients. After ablation, two patients showed a substantial downward shift towards the middle and inferior septal region respectively (NS). Four patients demonstrated a slight downward shift of the first activation.
Conclusions: In cryoballoon PVI, the majority of the veins undergo antral isolation. Veins with a diameter larger than the balloon, are isolated ostially. In individual cases, the left atrial activation sequence appears to be altered after ablation.