Doctors perform cryoablation to restore normal heart rhythm by disabling heart cells that create an irregular heartbeat. During this minimally invasive procedure, a thin flexible tube called a balloon catheter is used to locate and freeze the heart tissue that triggers an irregular heartbeat.
We have found that using cold, rather than heat, to disable damaged tissue reduces the chances of impacting healthy heart tissue and surrounding structures. Recent studies have found cryoablation to be significantly more effective than medication, and patients generally experience less pain than with radiofrequency ablation.
In Cryoablation, doctor inserts the balloon catheter into a blood vessel, usually in the upper leg, and then threads it though the body until it reaches the heart. This narrow tube has an inflatable balloon on one end that engages the pulmonary vein. Using advanced imaging techniques, the doctor is able to guide the catheter to the heart.
Once the balloon is at the ostium of the pulmonary vein, extreme cold energy flows through the catheter to destroy this small amount of tissue and restore a healthy heart rhythm.