Cryoablation for Atrial Fibrillation- Cardiology

Doctors started utilizing heat-based procedures to treat atrial fibrillation (AF) over 10 years ago. However, new evidence supports the use of cold treatment for this condition. The FDA initially endorsed the use of cardiac cryoablation catheter for AF  in December 2010.

Cryoablation is a less invasive treatment. In this procedure, a doctor uses a thin adaptable cylinder, known as an inflatable catheter, to find and fix the problematic portion of the heart. To restore normal heart rhythm and treat heart cells that cause atrial fibrillation, cryoablation may be done by your electrophysiologist (EP doctor).

If other treatments and medications cannot be able to restore normal heart rhythm cryoablation can be an appropriate treatment.

Why is cryoablation for atrial fibrillation required?

The success rate of cryoablation in the treatment of AF is high. However, for patients with other heart problems such as valvular heart disease or coronary artery disease, the success rate is different. Other factors that affect success rate are the size of the atria, the type of atrial fibrillation, and the duration of atrial fibrillation.

Which doctor to consult?

Talk to a cardiologist or an electrophysiologist (EP doctor), who will explain to you about the procedure, the risks and after-care.

What to expect during cryoablation for atrial fibrillation

A balloon catheter is inserted by your EP doctor into a blood vessel of your upper leg. Your doctor will then thread the tube up until it reaches the heart. This procedure is made possible with the help of advanced imaging techniques.

When the pulmonary vein in the heart is already open, your doctor will guide extreme cold energy through the catheter directly onto a small amount of heart tissue, causing erratic electrical signals, which will then restore your heart rhythm to normal.

Post-operative care
After the procedure, the doctor will remove the catheters and apply pressure to prevent bleeding on the site. You will be hooked to a telemetry monitor that displays your heart rhythm. Your doctor will advise you to stay at the hospital overnight. You will experience full recovery after three months.

You will be prescribed anticoagulants to prevent the formation of blood clots for six months. You will be told to initially avoud swimming and lifting heavy objects for a week after the procedure. You will also be instructed to return for follow-up checkups.


Your specialist will discuss the risk for complications before the surgery. Some complications like perforation of the heart, stroke, heart attack, and narrowing of the pulmonary veins can be possible for patients with underlying medical issues. However, bleeding on the site of catheter may commonly occur.


  • Cryoablation for Atrial Fibrillation | Heart Rhythm Consultants. (2019). Retrieved from
  • What to Expect After Catheter Ablation . (2019). Retrieved from

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