August 23, 2017

Cryo Catheter Ablation Is Now Available for Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation Patients in the US

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Medtronic Arctic Front® Cardiac CryoAblation Catheter system for the treatment of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. This is the first cryo (freezing) catheter ablation system to receive approval in the US. Approval was based on the results of the STOP AF (Sustained Treatment of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation) clinical trial that reported higher success at one year than medications along with reduced AF symptoms and improved quality of life.

To learn more, see the story below, and then please come back here to post your thoughts and comments below.

Cryo Catheter Ablation System Approved for Treatment of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation in the U.S.

Comments

  1. walt Thomas says:

    AAlan, I am interested in where in Florida you had your Cro Ablation done, please. I live in Central Florida and it looks like my Meds (Rythmol, Sotolol, and now Multaq seem to have run their course. I have at least 1 episode each month, lasting about 10 – 14 hrs. I am told by my Cardio that I need ablation (RF)… but I am just learning about Cryo. Any help or info would be appreicated.

  2. After a so far successful ablation procedure for Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia and atrial flutter on December 9, 2010 my EP cardiologist has recommended an ablation procedure for my Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. A single 150 MG tablet of Flecainide is sufficient to convert to normal sinus when I notice an episode but I have episodes 3 to 5 times a week and i am waking up during the night to episodes to. During waking hours AF often is preceded by slower heart rate than normal (mid to high 40’s)with skipping beats. The cardiologist is reluctant to put me on taking the Flecainide each morning and night for concern that this would slow my heart rate down too slow (my normal resting heart rate is around 54). However, I have not noticed that the Flecainide has the effect of slowing my heart rate down as usually when I take it the rate is similar to normal or sometimes actually increased to the high 60’s to low 70’s however, I am assuming this higher rate could be due to the AF being controlled. When my heart rate is slow, skipping or in AF I sometimes have slight numbness or slight pain in my fingers and toes, slight headache and mild chest pain that comes and goes. I also feel apprehensive and not of well being. Exertion when slow or skipping bill bring on or worsen the AF and I feel short of breath. Normal AF rate is a little over 100 with highs of under 140 as far as I can determine. I use a Daily Care model #RMH 2.0 hand held ECG to take my heart rate. This takes a 30 second reading. During this time I can see the rate vary between beats on the monitor and later print the reading out. This is not a precise instrument and has two leads – one for each wrist. In August 2010 and prior to my first ablation, I wore a holter which showed multiple episodes both atrial flutter and atrial fibralation. At that time I developed supraventricular tachycardia (over 200) at the end of a nuclear stress test that converted to normal sinus after about 2 minutes. From that point forward both irregular and fast heart rate was an issue. After the ablation I have not noticed any of the very fast heart rate (other than around 140 AF episodes).

    Because of the possibility of complications and new procedures available I would like an opinion on my best course of action. I am also concerned that the AF may become worse or cause physical heart remodeling and harder to treat but I am looking the best chance of cure or treatment.
    Thank you, Gene

  3. I just had the Cryo Ablation done on Friday Feb 18, 2011, I had 3 ablations done in the past 2 yrs , with afib episodes coming back each time when I stoppped my Meds, Multaq works very well with me 2xs a day , now I am back on warfarin and multaq , my Dr. says give it 4-6 weeks , I am still in Recovery from the procedure , a little more pain than the regular ablations , I was told I am one of the 1st to have the Cryo Ablation in South Florida , lets hope I will be afib-free when I an able to stop my meds .. I am happy I found this site , sharing with other’s gives lots of hope 🙂

  4. SolvingADream says:

    Hi Nicolas Dzepina ,

    You mention your EP at Cedars. I live in the Los Angeles area and am looking for a EP with significant experience with the Arctic Front method. Could you share your EP’s name and if you recommend him? A big thank you ahead of time!

  5. Christina,

    While the initial success rate was about 70%, only a doctor can give you a realistic assessment of how it might work in your case.

    Mellanie

  6. Christina Isaak says:

    Hello,
    Have had 2 heart ablation -both unsuccessful (2 years ago) Am taking flecanide 50mg. BID and atenolol 25 mg. BID. Medications not working well. If this procedure would “cure” my Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation – wonderful! What is the success rate?

  7. Nicolas Dzepina says:

    More infos about the artic front cryoablation catheter

    http://jafib.com/published/webFormat/Battista%20Chierchia/battista%20chierchia.pdf

  8. Hi Jason, Where did you have the procedure in Australia? I suffer from Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation and drugs do not seem to be working well. Cryo ablation seems the way to go.

  9. Thanks Mellanie, after 2 years of trying different drugs with limited to no success, this procedure was really a last resort. I probably should’ve asked for it sooner but you always think about the risks, etc. and the hope that the drugs may eventually work. Personally I think it should be offered sooner in cases where drugs dont seem to be working and could potentially do more harm.

  10. Nicolas Dzepina says:

    For Loretta:

    Here are two websites. One is in french, but by cliking on” translat”e in the upper right side of the article, it will be in english.Yyou will notice that in the german trial there was no esophageal fistula, headset, or stenosis of the pulmonary veins reported, while this was not the case in the US study reported on this site. Experience in permorfing the ablation has a lot to do with it.
    My Electrophysioligst a CedarSsinai has had a clinical study in 2009, where he ablated 14 patients with this device. I would not trust one with no experience.

    http://www.ablationfrontiers.com/webdocuments/S-Fredersdorf-Testimonial.pdf

    http://www.theheart.org/fr/article/801269/print.do

    For MELANIE:; In response to you not understanding my previous comment “According to Cardiologists on your site (you no longer have them)”

    You used to have Cardiologists as guest…. where we could asked them questions….. and where they would respond within a certain time frame.

    You do not seem to have them anymore , because that section is no longer on your website-…Well…. I do not see it. ….If it is still there , can you guide me where to find it?

    I have been on many cardiac monitors since 2006 ..They record episodes of Afib when you have them, but do not tell your pulse rate, and if the episode is triggered first by a PAC or a PVC .

    I have taken notes in 2008 and 2009 of the time of the day or night when an episode kicked in.. with a description of the symptoms felt. to see if my Afib was triggered either by PAC , PVC or PAC with a PVC reponse….then I have asked them to tell me the results..

    In 2008 the first cardio I saw told me that most likely it was triggered by PACS.. Either he did not know and/or did not care to go through the many generated strips to try to find out

    I have done the same thing with my current Electrophysiologist ,in October 2009. I am still waiting for the answer.. .

    Although only 2 % of the cases are trigger by PVCS .. I want to know if I am or Not in that category… If yes . I still do not know if that can be ablated!

    • Nicolas,

      Regarding the cardiologists you reference, that was not my site, though we did have links to it. That was the Journal of Afib at jafib.com.

      If you’ve been waiting for an answer from the EP since October, 2009, I think I’d insist that I get all the strips/tests and take them to another doctor to review. Waiting for an answer for 14 months is ridiculous.

      Mellanie

  11. all we talk about is a cure for atrial fibrillation but is there really a cure for this. what is the precentage that this balloon catheter, cryo catheter ablation will work and how many times do you have to have this done to get it right, it seems to me that we can send a man to the moon but we can not find away for the doctors to cure this afib. can you tell mr that.

    • Larry,

      We just don’t know the answer to that since the cryoballoon catheter is so new and we don’t have long-term results.

      If we had spent as much money on afib research as we did getting a man to the moon, we’d have a solution for afib, too. There is a lot of research taking place, but we could certainly use more. Funding is the challenge.

      Mellanie

  12. madbradwilson says:

    how will this be more effective that the thermocool ablation?

    • Brad,

      The Thermocool catheter is a single-point catheter, while the cryoballoon produces an arc that is a continuous lesion and also has a single-point catheter for areas that are hard to reach with the balloon. They are different energy sources–Thermocool is radiofrequency energy (RF) and cryo is freeqing–and we don’t have long-term results comparing them.

      Mellanie

  13. Nicolas Dzepina says:

    I have been made aware of the Artic front cryoablation catheter in a french forum in October 2007.

    I have been in contact since with the french lady whose german husband got treated with this method in germay where they both live.

    His Afib by her account was worse than mine . He has had 4 cardioversions, and a regiment of differents drugs which all failed, felt tired etc.. and a dilated left atrium. THREE years after his ablation he has been Afib free since.

    I had an appointement with Dr Arenz who performed her husband ‘s ablation, in Bad Krozingen near Freiburg in march 2009, which I cancelled after learning of a clinical trial study at Cedar Sinai hospital in Los Angeles. But I was too late to get in, and in addition I was not on any drug!

    I am currently enrolled in a protocol with 5 others patients, at that same hospital to test the device since the drug flecanaide I have been taking has not been 100 % efficient., although the episodes are less frequent .

    My ablation was scheduled for December 30, 2010.

    Now that it has been approved by the FDA , I will probably wait .

    Contrary to what has been said about alchool being an Afib trigger, for me its has reverted episodes where I had wine .Chocolate also does not trigger Afib , for me! I

    I have also reverted 65% of the episodes I have tried… going running (during the run… or after during the recuperation phase) .

    According to Cardiologists on your site (you no longer have them) this is very unusual, but no one cared to try to find out why neither does mine and the others two I have consulted?.

    My afib episode are the results of skip beats when one and/or more in duet or triplet…. is or are going haywire now and then

    My main concern is to try to find out… if the trigger is a PAC or a PVC, and /or both at different times?

    Many of them seems to me to be PVC which are trigger by adrenaline surge, since I feel the symptons below the left side of the rib cage. I have alo felt the trigger higher up (PAC?) on the left side of the chest, but far less frequently than below the left rib cage.

    I also have a sliding Hiatal hernia, which has a link to it I beleive , if not the cause of my Afib.

    Unfortunately there is no support group in my area ton compare symptoms.

    It also seems through my observations than my heart suddenly slows down too much where my pulse starts to hesitate, then skip and skip .. but only in a reclining seated position and worse lying flat in bed.. …

    If I did not.. and do not take the straight position and/or get up right away, Afib kicked in. But if I get up right away and/or take the straight position while seated I stop it

    I beleive that those quick sudden moves raising by heart rate, put it back in sink, in the same manner I was reverting episodes while running!

    Unfortunately I was and I am not able to see how slow my pulse is prior to start hesitating and skipping…even on a monitor event recorder.

    • Each of us is different — for some alcohol is a problem, for others it is not. For some, exercise starts the afib, but for others, exercise stops it. As one surgeon said, afib is a bunch of different conditions that share the same name. That’s why the afib community says that we are each an “experiment of one”.

      Sorry, I don’t understand this comment: “According to Cardiologists on your site (you no longer have them)” – since we haven’t pulled down anything that was on the site from cardiologists or electrophysiologists, if you remember something and can’t find it, just let me know.

      Have your doctors put you on a Holter monitor for a few days (or weeks) to figure out exactly what heart rhythms you are experiencing and what is going on during different daily activities? If not, you may want to ask them to do so.

      Regarding support groups, please come out to the StopAfib Discussion Forum so you can discuss things with others. It’s at http://forum.stopafib.org . You should be able to read the forum without registering, but to ask questions of others you’ll need to register. Instructions for registering and getting started are here: http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php?showforum=25

      Good luck.

      Mellanie

  14. Loretta Muscillo says:

    This sounds very promising. I would like to learn more about the procedure……..how it is done, recovery time, length of hospital stay etc.

    • Loretta,

      There are some links at the bottom of the article here that will give you more info, and one of the linked articles has a link to the trial at ClinicalTrials.gov. There you can find out who the doctors and facilities were that were in the trial and thus will have the most experience with doing the procedure. You’ll probably want to consult with them to find out more details.

      Mellanie

  15. I had this procedure in Australia, bit surprised that it wasnt already available in the US. And yes it was successful, well so far anyway 🙂

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