The mechanisms of recurrent atrial arrhythmias after second-generation cryoballoon ablation.
Summary: This study explored the mechanisms of recurrences after cryoballoon ablation after second-generation cryoballoon pulmonary vein isolation (CB-PVI) in patients with recurrent atrial arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm).
Conclusion: The study suggested that improvement in the upper pulmonary vein pulmonary vein isolation durability, eliminating arrhythmogenic superior vena cavae and coexisting atrial arrhythmias, and bonus cryoballoon applications at pulmonary vein antra might improve the single procedure outcome in cryoballoon ablation in patients with recurrent atrial arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm).
Background: In patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF), 10%-15% of patients require repeat procedures after second-generation cryoballoon pulmonary vein isolation (CB-PVI). We sought to explore the mechanisms of recurrences after cryoballoon ablation.
Methods: The data of 122 PAF patients who underwent second procedures for recurrent arrhythmias 7.0 (4.0-12.0) months after the CB-PVI were analyzed. During second procedures, non-PV AF foci were explored with isoproterenol, adenosine, and repetitive cardioversions.
Results: In total, 378/487 (77.6%) PVs remained isolated, and reconnections were not observed in any PVs in 59 (48.4%) patients. PV reconnections were associated with recurrences in 38 (31.1%) patients, of whom 33 (86.8%) had reconnections of at least 1 upper PV. In 6 (4.9%) patients, non-PV AF foci were identified in the upper PV antra where cryoballoons cannot isolate but within the circumferential radiofrequency PVI line. Non-PV AF foci were identified in the superior vena cava, right atrial body, left atrial body, and atrial septum in 28 (23.0%), 18 (14.7%), 4 (3.3%), and 5 (4.1%) patients, respectively. Twelve (9.8%) patients had multiple non-PV AF foci. Four (3.3%), 3 (2.4%), and 8 (6.5%) patients underwent second procedures for atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia, atrial flutter, and atrial tachycardias. During 16.0 (8.0-24.0) months of follow-up, freedom from any atrial arrhythmia at 1 year and 2 years after the second procedure was 79.2% and 60.6%. Nineteen (15.5%) patients had antiarrhythmic drug therapy at the last follow-up.
Conclusions: Our study suggested that improvement in the upper PV PVI durability, eliminating arrhythmogenic superior vena cavae and coexisting atrial arrhythmias, and bonus cryoballoon applications at PV antra might improve the single procedure outcome in cryoballoon ablation.