Cryoballoon catheter ablation is a minimally invasive procedure and one of the therapeutic modalities to manage AF. It is designed to block unwanted electrical signals travelling from the pulmonary veins (large blood vessels that carry blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart) and spreading to theatria (the upper chambers of the heart). This is done with a technique known as pulmonary vein isolation that targets the tissue where the veins and the atria connect and prevents the spread of unwanted electrical signals.
The procedure using the cryoballoon catheter approved by Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) was performed by Dr. Balbir Singh, chairman of Cardiology, Pan Max Hospital, Saket, Delhi.
The cryoballoon catheter from Medtronic targets pulmonary vein isolation to stop the unwanted electrical signals from spreading in the body, thus effectively treating AF. It has been deemed as effective and safe by various regulatory authorities, further being used to treat over one million patients across the globe.
Elucidating about the technique, Madan Krishnan, Vice President and Managing Director, Medtronic India said, “Cryoballoon ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that offers a short recovery time and comparable safety and efficacy to standard radiofrequency therapy, but with the benefit of greater treatment efficiency. In collaboration with leading clinicians, researchers, and scientists worldwide, Medtronic offers the broadest range of innovative medical technology for the interventional and surgical treatment of cardiovascular disease and cardiac arrhythmias,”
AF, which has affected nearly 60 million people worldwide, is an irregular heart rhythm that affects the upper chambers (atria) of the heart. The heart of a person diagnosed with AF beats as much as 300 times a minute or more in the atria and up to 150 times a minute or more in the lower chambers (ventricles) in comparison to a normal heart that beats around 60-100 times per minute.
It has further been associated with serious health complications including heart failure, stroke and increased risk of death. India has relatively higher rates of deaths and younger patients suffering from AF in comparison to their western counterparts. Two-thirds of the total AF patients suffer from either persistent or permanent AF contributing to higher deaths in the country.
Commenting on how Cryoballoon ablation can offer safer treatment and better quality of life, Dr Singh said “AF is a progressive disease, meaning over time patients can experience more frequent, and longer episodes. Cryoballoon ablation is a safe and effective treatment before or after medication therapy to control atrial fibrillation. By treating patients with the most advanced, clinically relevant technology, we are better equipped to successfully manage their atrial fibrillation, thereby improving their overall quality-of-life.”
Medtronic had earlier received approval from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the Arctic Front™ Family of Cardiac Cryoablation Catheters to treat recurrent symptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (episodes that last less than seven continuous days) as an alternative to antiarrhythmic drug (AAD) therapy for the initial rhythm control strategy. This can help in the treatment of disease in the progression stage, enhancing therapeutic effectiveness.