"This book is incredibly complete and easy-to-understand for anybody. I certainly recommend it for patients who want to know more about atrial fibrillation than what they will learn from doctors...."

Pierre Jaïs, M.D. Professor of Cardiology, Haut-Lévêque Hospital, Bordeaux, France

"Dear Steve, I saw a patient this morning with your book [in hand] and highlights throughout. She loves it and finds it very useful to help her in dealing with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Wilber Su Cavanaugh Heart Center, Phoenix, AZ

"Your book [Beat Your A-Fib] is the quintessential most important guide not only for the individual experiencing atrial fibrillation and his family, but also for primary physicians, and cardiologists."

Jane-Alexandra Krehbiel, nurse, blogger and author "Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness"


"Steve Ryan's summaries of the Boston A-Fib Symposium are terrific. Steve has the ability to synthesize and communicate accurately in clear and simple terms the essence of complex subjects. This is an exceptional skill and a great service to patients with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Jeremy Ruskin of Mass. General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

"I love your [A-fib.com] website, Patti and Steve! An excellent resource for anybody seeking credible science on atrial fibrillation plus compelling real-life stories from others living with A-Fib. Congratulations…"

Carolyn Thomas, blogger and heart attack survivor; MyHeartSisters.org

"Steve, your website was so helpful. Thank you! After two ablations I am now A-fib free. You are a great help to a lot of people, keep up the good work."

Terry Traver, former A-Fib patient

"If you want to do some research on AF go to A-Fib.com by Steve Ryan, this site was a big help to me, and helped me be free of AF."

Roy Salmon Patient, A-Fib Free; pacemakerclub.com, Sept. 2013

Technology & Innovations 

Arctic Cryoballoon Catheter

Arctic Cryoballoon Catheter

Balloon Catheters/Cryoballoon Catheters

One of the most exciting, important new technologies for A-Fib patients is the recently FDA approved CryoBalloon Catheter. The balloon system can be used to fit into a Pulmonary Vein opening, then ablate it with a minimum number of lesions.

Arctic Cryoballoon Catheter

This could be a vast improvement over current RF catheters which use pinpoint lesions to perform large-area ablations in a point-by-point fashion and which require a great deal of operator skill and manual dexterity. CryoBalloon ablations might become easier and faster to do than RF.

Using the energy source Cryo to make ablations may also be a major improvement for A-Fib patients. Cryo uses very cold temperatures to freeze tissue to create lesions without the vaporization, charring, and tissue damage of RF. It preserves heart tissue integrity rather than burning it. When cold temperatures are applied, Cryo catheters stick to the heart tissue they touch, much like a tongue on cold metal. Since the heart is beating and in constant motion during an ablation, this is a significant advantage. And Cryo produces no crust formations. RF burns can cause a crust to form over the ablated area (called a “thrombus”). This crust can fall off and lodge in a blood vessel, perhaps causing a blood clot and stroke. (That’s one of the reasons blood thinners like heparin are used during RF ablations, to prevent these blood clots.)

CryoBalloon Safer for Patients

In the clinical trials, the CryoBalloon catheter was safer for patients. There were no strokes, no pulmonary vein stenosis, no esophageal injury, and no coronary artery injury as sometimes occurs with RF ablation. There is also little danger of perforation and tamponade with the CryoBalloon catheter.

For a more detailed look at these new technologies, see Drs. Burkhardt and Natale’s article from which most of this report is taken: Burkhardt, JD, Natale, A. “New Technologies in Atrial Fibrillation Ablation,” Circulation. 2009;120:1533-1541. Last accessed Jan 11, 2013. http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/120/15/1533?eaf

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Return to Index of Articles: Research and Innovations

Last updated: Sunday, February 15, 2015

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