Cardiac Balloon Cryoablation
A well-tolerated, safe, and effective arrhythmia correction procedure, very similar to cardiac catheter ablation, is known as Balloon Cryoablation. This treatment for atrial fibrillation and other cardiac arrhythmias uses cold instead of heat to destroy malfunctioning heart tissue and eliminate errant electrical signals. Much like a heat-based ablation, cryo-ablation is performed using catheter technology which allows for a minimally invasive procedure with less downtime and fewer risks than traditional surgery. These procedures are performed in an advanced electrophysiology or EP lab.
How Is Balloon Cryoablation Performed?
During a cryo-ablation, a small incision is made at the groin or in the arm and a catheter is threaded through a sheath up a blood vessel and to the heart. When in place, using advanced mapping software, Dr. Tordini can, in real-time, visualize the heart structures as well as its irregular electrical impulses. Using this map, Dr. Tordini can accurately understand where ablation is needed and can deploy the system. Once in place, a balloon at the tip of the catheter is filled with supercooled liquid and the ablation can begin. One of the benefits of cryoablation is that the tissue of the heart can be cooled, but not destroyed, to check if the electrical impulses diminish and the heart returns to normal rhythm. Consider it a trial of sorts. Once Dr. Tordini has determined that the cooling is beneficial, she can proceed with ablating the tissue, ultimately destroying it. The tissue is absorbed back into the heart within a few weeks and patients immediately experience the benefits.
Multiple Cryoablation Procedures
Much like cardiac catheter ablation, cryoablation can be performed multiple times in the same patient. If improper electrical signals of the heart were not found in the first ablation or if new errant electrical impulses develop afterward, a second ablation known as a touchup is rather routine and can be performed easily and safely.