Most heart rhythm disorders are ablated with Radiofrequency – a form of unipolar cautery.
Applied to discrete locations where the Electrophysiologist has discovered the abnormal signals or tissue which are producing the clinical heart rhythm disorder. Radiofrequency energy durably abolishes abnormal tissue, however, each application produces a treatment area which is very small: typically
4-5 mm in diameter and 4-5 mm deep.
In contrast to radiofrequency, cryoablation uses a balloon filled with supercooled nitric oxide to abolish the electrical activity in side these pulmonary veins, quickly and painlessly.
The areas treated by this therapy are smooth with well-defined, yet continuous, so that the electrical isolation of the vein is complete.
This discrete application is useful for many heart rhythm disorders which have, as their mechanism, a single abnormal conduction pathway or cell cluster.
Atrial fibrillation, however, has been shown in many patients to arise out of the four Pulmonary Veins, which carry oxygenated blood from the lungs to the Left Atrium.