Repeat Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation Recurrence Post Cryoballoon or Radiofrequency Ablation in the FIRE and ICE Trial

Karl Heinz Kuck, Jean Paul Albenque, K. R.Julian Chun, Alexander Fürnkranz, Mathias Busch, Arif Elvan, Michael Schlüter, Kendra M. Braegelmann, Fred J. Kueffer, Lauren Hemingway, Thomas Arentz, Claudio Tondo, Josep Brugada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The FIRE AND ICE trial assessed efficacy and safety of pulmonary vein (PV) isolation using cryoballoon versus radiofrequency current (RFC) ablation in patients with drug refractory, symptomatic, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF). The purpose of the current study was to assess index lesion durability as well as reablation strategy and outcomes in trial patients undergoing a reablation procedure. Methods: Patients with reablation procedures during FIRE AND ICE were retrospectively consented and enrolled at 13 trial centers. The first reablation for each patient was included in the analysis. Documented arrhythmias before reablation, number and location of reconnected PVs, lesions created during reablations, procedural characteristics, and acute as well as long-term outcomes were assessed. Results: Eighty-nine (36 cryoballoon and 53 RFC) patients were included in this study. Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation was the predominant recurrent arrhythmia (69%) before reablation. Reablations occurred at a median of 173 and 182 days (P=0.54) in the cryoballoon and RFC cohorts, respectively. The number of reconnected PVs was significantly higher in the RFC than the cryoballoon group (2.1±1.4 versus 1.4±1.1; P=0.010), which was driven by significantly more reconnected left superior PVs and markedly more reconnected right superior PVs. The number of (predominantly RFC) lesions applied during reablation was significantly greater in patients originally treated with RFC (3.3±1.3 versus 2.5±1.5; P=0.015) with no difference in overall acute success (P=0.70). After reablation, no differences in procedure-related rehospitalization or antiarrhythmic drug utilization were observed between cohorts. Conclusions: At reablation, patients originally treated with the cryoballoon had significantly fewer reconnected PVs, which may reflect RFC catheter instability in certain left atrial regions, and thus required fewer lesions for reablation success. Repeat ablations were predominantly performed with RFC and resulted in similar acute success, duration of hospitalization, and antiarrhythmic drug prescription between the study cohorts. Clinical Trial Registration: URL: Unique identifier: NCT03314753.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere007247
JournalCirculation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2019


  • atrial fibrillation
  • catheter ablation
  • hospitalization
  • pulmonary veins
  • randomized controlled trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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