Heart and Vascular Center

Cryoablation - Advanced Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation

Freezing the Heart

More than three million Americans experience Atrial Fibrillation (AF), which is the leading cause of stroke in the United States. St. Joseph Hospital now offers the latest technology to treat AF. Cryoablation is a low-risk, minimally-invasive technique used to freeze the tissue in the heart that causes AF.

How Cryoablation Works

A cryoballoon catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in the upper leg and image guided to the heart to access the pulmonary veins. The balloon attached to the catheter is inflated and liquid coolant is released to freeze the affected tissue around the pulmonary veins. The frozen tissue stops the transmission of electrical signals that cause AF and restores a normal heart rhythm.

Benefits of Cryoablation

Cryoablation is a proven safe and effective treatment for AF. In fact, 80-85 percent of patients are free of AF one year after receiving cryoablation treatment. The main benefits of cryoablation include:

  • Low risk of complications compared with other therapies, such as heat-based ablation treatments.
  • Significant reduction of AF symptoms.
  • Reduced use of drug therapy for AF.
  • Improved quality of life.

If you are experiencing symptoms of AF, you should talk with your doctor immediately. An electrocardiogram (ECG) test is typically performed to diagnose AF. If prescriptions medications fail to relieve symptoms, your doctor may recommend cryoablation if this treatment option is right for you. Click here to read more about AF.