Acute and long-term efficacy and safety with a single cryoballoon application as compared with the standard dual application strategy: a prospective randomized study using the second-generation cryoballoon for pulmonary vein isolation in patients with symptomatic atrial fibrillation

Europace. 2018 Oct 1;20(10):1598-1605. doi: 10.1093/europace/euy014.


Aims: A single cryoballoon (CB) application per vein for pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) could save time and was therefore compared to the standard approach of two consecutive CB applications for acute and long-term efficacy and safety.

Methods and results: Patients with symptomatic AF were randomized to a single CB application per vein guided by an Achieve® catheter (Single cryo-arm) or to two CB applications using a standard guidewire (Routine cryo-arm). The primary endpoint was the rate of acute complete PVI. Secondary endpoints were freedom from AF evaluated by electrocardiogram and 7 days Holter at 6 and 12 months, symptoms by Symptom Severity Questionnaires and EHRA score and quality of life (QoL) by EQ5D-5L at 12 months. Among 140 patients included, PVI was achieved in 271 (100%) veins in the Single cryo-arm and in 269/271 (99.3%) veins in the Routine cryo-arm, P = 0.25. The procedure time was shorter in the Single cryo-arm, mean ± standard deviation 99.4 ± 33.3 min vs. 118.4 ± 34.3 min, P = 0.0015. Freedom from AF after one procedure at 12 months did not differ; 73.9.0% (Single cryo) vs. 71.4% (Routine), P = 0.74. Symptoms and QoL did also not differ between the two groups. There was a lower complication rate in the Single cryo-group, 2.9% vs. 12.9%, P = 0.03.

Conclusion: A single CB application shortens the procedure time without affecting acute or long-term efficacy, as compared to the routine two-application strategy, which with the lower complication rates has important implications when defining standards for PVI.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atrial Fibrillation / surgery*
  • Cryosurgery / methods*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Electrocardiography, Ambulatory
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Operative Time
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pulmonary Veins / surgery*
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome