Ablation of atrial fibrillation with cryoballoon or duty-cycled radiofrequency pulmonary vein ablation catheter: a randomized controlled study comparing the clinical outcome and safety; the AF-COR study

Helena Malmborg, Stefan Lönnerholm, Per Blomström, Carina Blomström-Lundqvist
Europace: European Pacing, Arrhythmias, and Cardiac Electrophysiology 2013, 15 (11): 1567-73

AIMS: The urge to facilitate the atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation procedure has led to the development of new ablation catheters specifically designed as 'one-shot tools' for pulmonary vein isolation (PVI). The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy, safety, and procedure times for two such catheters using different energy sources.

METHODS AND RESULTS: One hundred and ten patients, referred for ablation of paroxysmal or persistent AF, were randomized to treatment with either the cryoballoon or the circular multipolar duty-cycled radiofrequency-based pulmonary vein ablation catheter (PVAC). Complete PVI was achieved in 98 vs. 93% patients in the cryoballoon and PVAC group, respectively, with complication rates of 8 vs. 2% (P = 0.2). Complete freedom from AF, without antiarrhythmic drugs, after one single ablation procedure was seen in 46% in the cryoballoon vs. 34% after 12 months (P = 0.2). Procedure times were comparable, but fluoroscopy time was shorter for the cryoballoon (32 ± 16 min) than for the PVAC procedures (47 ± 17 min) (P < 0.001). A significant improvement of quality of life (QoL) and arrhythmia-related symptoms was seen in both groups after ablation.

CONCLUSION: Both catheters proved comparably effective and safe in achieving acute PVI, apart from the shorter fluoroscopy times achieved with the cryoballoon. At follow-up, there was no statistically significant difference between the groups regarding freedom from AF and clinical success. The QoL increased to the same levels as for the general Swedish population in both groups.

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