UPMC Physician Resources

Case Study: Cryoablation for Atrial Fibrillation

Samir Saba, MD

A 49 year old woman was referred to UPMC for curative treatment of atrial fibrillation in the form of pulmonary vein isolation.

She had a history of:

  • Rheumatic heart disease status post subacute bacterial endocarditis requiring open-heart surgery and replacement of her mitral valve with a St. Jude Medical bi-leaflet mechanical valve.
  • Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation failing treatment for a year with antiarrhythmic medications. 

The evaluation

The patient was obese but otherwise in good health with a BMI of 46.1. 

By transesophageal echocardiography, she had:

  • A normal left ventricular ejection fraction.
  • A well-seated mechanical mitral valve with normal function.
  • No clots in the left atrial appendage (figure 1).
Figure 1 - Transesophageal echocardiography
Figure 1:
Transesophageal echocardiography

The CT scan of her chest (figure 2) showed normal pulmonary venous anatomy with a right intermediate pulmonary vein emptying ostially into the right superior pulmonary vein.

 Figure 3 - Pulmonary vein isolation
Figure 2: CT scan

The procedure

The patient was taken into the lab and underwent trans-septal left atrial catheterization under intracardiac echocardiographic guidance.

She underwent pulmonary vein isolation using the 23 mm Arctic Front cryoballoon catheter (figure 3).

 Figure 2 - CT scan
Figure 3: Cryoballoon catheter deployment

The results

At the end of the procedure, all four pulmonary veins were completely isolated.

She was restated on her anticoagulation with Coumadin® and was discharged home as soon as her anticoagulation was therapeutic.

© 2011 UPMC