Comparison between superior vena cava ablation in addition to pulmonary vein isolation and standard pulmonary vein isolation in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation with the cryoballoon technique

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BACKGROUND: Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) can be triggered by non-pulmonary vein foci, like the superior vena cava (SVC). The latter is correlated with improved result in terms of freedom from atrial tachycardias (ATs), when electrical isolation of this vessel utilizing radiofrequency energy (RF) is achieved.

OBJECTIVES: Evaluate the clinical impact, in patients with PAF, of the SVC isolation (SVCi) in addition to ordinary pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) by means of the second-generation cryoballoon (CB) METHODS: A total of 100 consecutive patients that underwent CB ablation for PAF were retrospectively selected. Fifty consecutive patients received PVI followed by SVCi by CB application, and the following 50 consecutive patients received standard PVI. All patients were followed 12 months.

RESULTS: The mean time to SVCi was 36.7 ± 29.0 s and temperature at SVC isolation was - 35 (- 18 to - 40) °C. Real-time recording (RTR) during SVCi was observed in 42 (84.0%) patients. At the end of 12 months of follow-up, freedom from ATs was achieved in 36 (72%) patients in the PVI only group and in 45 (90%) patients of the SVC and PV isolation group (Fisher's exact test p = 0.039, binary logistic regression: p = 0.027, OR = 0.28, 95%CI = 0.09-0.86). In survival analysis, SVC and PV isolation group was also associated with improved freedom from ATs (log-rank test: p = 0.017, Cox regression: p = 0.026, HR = 0.31, 95%CI = 0.11-0.87).

CONCLUSION: Superior vena cava isolation with the CB in addition to PVI might improve freedom from ATs if compared to PVI alone at 1-year follow-up.

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