Impact of transesophageal echocardiography during transseptal puncture on atrial fibrillation ablation
BACKGROUND Pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) using cryoballoon (CB) catheter is a new technique for atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation. Previous studies used computer tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to determine the pulmonary vein (PV) diameter and anatomy for choosing the CB size. We evaluated pre-ablation transoesophageal-echocardiography (TEE) as an alternative to CT/MRI scan in patients undergoing AF ablation for determining the appropriate size of the CB. METHODS Fifty-five consecutive patients (men=43, women=12) with a mean age of 63 ± 12.5 years, and with drug-refractory paroxysmal AF (34 patients) or persistent AF (21 patients) were included in this prospective study. All patients underwent pre-ablation TEE. RESULTS Hypertension was present in 19 patients (34%). Mean anterior-posterior left atrium diameter was 45.1 ± 8.9 mm. In total, 217 PV were targeted using a single 23-mm (n=14) or 28-mm (n=40) CB catheter chosen according to TEE-obtained measurements. PVI was achieved in 195 PV (90%). Mean number of CB applications per patient was 9.8 ± 2.1 (range 8-14). Mean procedure duration and fluoroscopy times were 131 ± 27 min (90-190 min) and 36 ± 12 min (22-66 min) respectively. Phrenic nerve palsy occurred in 3 patients (5.4%) and was transient (<1 month) in all of them. CONCLUSION This study suggests that TEE is an easily available and effective tool to select the size of the CB for PVI according to evaluated PV diameters and anatomy.