Cryoballoon antral pulmonary vein isolation vs contact force-sensing radiofrequency catheter ablation for pulmonary vein and posterior left atrial isolation in patients with persistent atrial fibrillation

Heart Rhythm. 2018 Dec;15(12):1835-1841. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2018.06.047. Epub 2018 Jul 4.


Background: The role of cryoballoon ablation (CBA) for antral pulmonary vein isolation (APVI) has not been well established in persistent atrial fibrillation (PerAF). Isolation of the left atrial posterior wall (BOX) after APVI has been suggested to improve the efficacy of radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFA) in PerAF.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare characteristics and clinical outcomes of APVI by CBA vs APVI + BOX by contact force-guided RFA (CF-RFA) in patients with PerAF.

Methods: APVI was performed in 167 consecutive patients with PerAF (mean age 64 ± 9 years; left atrial diameter 46 ± 6 mm) using CBA (n = 90) or CF-RFA (n = 77). After APVI, a roofline was created in 33 of 90 patients (37%) in the CBA group and BOX was performed in all 77 patients in the CF-RFA group.

Results: During 21 ± 10 months of follow-up after a single ablation procedure, 37 of 90 patients (41%) in the CBA group (APVI) and 39 of 77 (51%) in the CF-RFA group (APVI + BOX) remained in sinus rhythm without antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs) (P = .22). During repeat ablation, APVI + BOX using CF-RFA was performed in 20 of 90 patients (22%) and in 18 of 77 patients (23%) who initially underwent CBA or CF-RFA, respectively. At 19 ± 10 months after repeat ablation, sinus rhythm was maintained in 55 of 90 patients (61%) and 52 of 77 patients (68%) in the CBA and CF-RFA groups without AADs, respectively (P = .39).

Conclusion: In PerAF, an initial approach of APVI by CBA or APVI + BOX by CF-RFA has a similar efficacy of 40%-50% without AADs. After repeat ablation for APVI + BOX by CF-RFA in ∼25%, sinus rhythm is maintained in 60%-70% of patients without AADs.

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; Catheter ablation; Cryoablation; Cryoballoon; Posterior wall isolation; Radiofrequency.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / surgery*
  • Body Surface Potential Mapping*
  • Catheter Ablation / instrumentation*
  • Cryosurgery / methods*
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Atria / surgery*
  • Heart Conduction System / physiopathology
  • Heart Conduction System / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Veins / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome