Why is Cryoballoon better than RF Ablation?
The Left Atrium is a very thin structure with the esophagus, pericardium, lungs, and nerves very closely related. RF is cautery. It is a powerful energy source that can easily heat through the left atrium and damage these adjacent structures.
Who should have ablation for AF?
AF causes significant symptoms.
AF causes a wide variety of symptoms. Palpitations can be mild or severe. Fatigue and difficulty exercising can occur with AF or be aggravated by medications. The main reason to have ablation for AF is to relieve symptoms when medications haven’t.
AF is a progressive disease.
AF usually starts with brief or infrequent symptoms and over years becomes more frequent, longer lasting, and eventually may become permanent. This progression of symptoms is associated with increasing “scarring” in the atrial tissue. Ablation works best before AF has become too persistent.
AF increases the risk of stroke.
The risk of stroke with AF depends on the patients age and associated conditions including hypertension, diabetes, prior strokes, and the presence of other heart conditions. Ablation is not proven to substitute for anticoagulation in patients at high risk of stroke.
AF causes heart failure.
AF aggravates symptoms and worsens prognosis in CHF. Medications for AF are problematic in many CHF patients and ablation is a promising alternative.