What is cryoballoon ablation?

Premier Health’s Dr. Abdul Wase explains cryoballoon ablation. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.


Catheter ablation has been used for many years to treat heart arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation (A Fib). Historically, radiofrequency energy was applied to heart tissue point-by-point to burn (destroy) the opening of a vein in the tissue causing the abnormal electrical signal conduction. Advances in technology now allow electrophysiologists to use cryotherapy—cold energy—to freeze the problem tissue.

As Dr. Wase explains, during the procedure, a catheter is inserted in a vein in the groin and threaded to the problem area of the heart. When the catheter reaches its destination, a balloon containing liquid nitrogen is inflated. According to EPLab DigestOff Site Icon, the transformation of liquid nitrogen to a gas state results in a temperature of -80°F, effectively freezing and destroying the surrounding cells. The inflation of the cryoballoon creates a lesion that effectively blocks the vein opening.

Results of the STOP AF clinical trials (published in the Journal of the American College of CardiologyOff Site Icon) show that the isolating and destroying pulmonary veins through cryoballoon ablation is a safe and effective alternative to medications to treat atrial fibrillation. 12 months following the procedure, 69.9% of patients who underwent cryoballoon ablation were still asymptomatic, compared to only 7.3% of patients who were treated with medication alone.

Speak with your health care provider to learn more about cryoballoon ablation.

Learn more:

Premier Health Logo