Cryoballoon Ablation in Patients With Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation: An Evaluation of Cohorts With and Without Structural Heart Disease

Giovanni Battista Perego, Saverio Iacopino, Paolo Pieragnoli, Roberto Verlato, Giuseppe Arena, Giulio Molon, Giovanni Rovaris, Massimiliano Manfrin, Massimo Mantica, Gaetano Senatore, Giuseppe Stabile, Emanuele Bertaglia, Francesco Brasca, Claudio Tondo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) is the most widely adopted strategy for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) ablation. Limited evidence on acute results and late outcomes of cryoballoon (CB)-PVI in patients with structural heart disease (SHD) exist. The aim of this analysis was to compare acute procedural results and the 1-year recurrence rate of a single CB-PVI procedure in a PAF population with and without SHD. Method: From April 2012 to May 2017, a total of 2,031 patients with AF underwent CB-PVI and were followed prospectively in the framework of the One Shot TO Pulmonary vein isolation (1STOP) ClinicalService project, involving 36 Italian cardiology centres. We identified patients with SHD according to criteria proposed by current ESC guidelines: left ventricular (LV) systolic or diastolic dysfunction, long-standing hypertension with LV hypertrophy, and/or other structural heart disease. Data on procedural outcomes and long-term freedom from AF recurrence were evaluated. Results: Our population consisted of 1,452 patients, of whom 282 (19.4%) were classified as having SHD. Compared to non-SHD patients, the SHD cohort was older (mean ± standard deviation, 62.9 ± 9.0 vs 58.2 ± 11.4 years; p < 0.001), was more frequently male (79.1% vs 69.8%; p < 0.002), had a higher thrombo-embolic risk (CHA2DS2VASc ≥2: 63.4% vs 40.2%; p < 0.001), had a higher body mass index (27.7 ± 3.9 vs 26.4 ± 3.9 kg/m2; p < 0.001), had a larger atrial diameter (43.8 ± 7.0 vs 40.2 ± 5.8 mm; p < 0.001), and had a lower LV ejection fraction (57.2 ± 7.7% vs 60.7 ± 6.0%; p < 0.001). At the time of ablation, 73% of patients were on class Ic or III anti-arrhythmic drugs. Procedure time (106.9 ± 41.5 vs 112.1 ± 46.8 min; p = 0.248), fluoroscopic time (28.7 ± 14.7 vs 28.6 ± 15.2 min; p = 0.819), and complication rate (3.9% vs 4.8%; p = 0.525) were not different between the SHD and non-SHD cohorts. However, the acute success rate (98.9% vs 97.7%; p = 0.016) was higher in patients with SHD. After a follow-up of 13.4 ± 12.8 months, freedom from symptomatic recurrence was 78.0% for SHD and 78.4% for non-SHD (p = 0.895). Recurrence rate was not related to either left atrial size or LVEF. In the SHD cohort, class Ic or III anti-arrhythmic drugs treatment decreased from 70.7% of patients before ablation to 28.7% of patients after CB-PVI (p = 0.001). Conclusions: CB-PVI was extensively applied to treat patients with PAF. Unlike previous PVI experiences, the acute success and recurrence rate after a single procedure was not related to the presence of SHD or to the degree of cardiac remodelling. Further studies are required to define whether CB-PVI has a useful role in patients with a significantly reduced ejection fraction as those patients were under-represented in the current population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHeart Lung and Circulation
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Catheter ablation
  • Cryoballoon
  • Structural heart disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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