• Texas Medical Center, 6560 Fannin St. #1680, Houston, TX 77030
  • Heights Office, 427 W 20th St Houston, TX 77008
  • Texas Medical Center, 6560 Fannin St. #1680, Houston, TX 77030
  • Heights Office, 427 W 20th St Houston, TX 77008

AFib News

Date published : October, 15, 2023 

New Technologies for Catheter Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation (AFIB,  AF)

Cardiac Electrophysiologists use different techniques to treat the atrial fibrillation ( AFIB, AF) with catheter ablation and here, we'll explain three of them: Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA), Cryoablation, and Pulse Field Ablation (PFA).

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA):

  • RFA is a treatment that's been used for a while. It's like a "fix" for the heart's electrical system.
  • How it works: Doctors use special tools to send radiofrequency waves to the heart. These waves create heats and small scars in the heart's tissue, which stop the abnormal electrical signals causing AFIB.
  • It's done with thin tubes called catheters, and it's considered a less invasive procedure.


  • Cryoablation is another way to treat AFIB, and it's like using cold to "freeze" the problem.
  • How it works: Instead of heat, doctors use extreme cold to create scars in the heart tissue, blocking those bad electrical pathways.
  • Like RFA, cryoablation is done with catheters and is considered minimally invasive.

Pulse Field Ablation (PFA):

  • PFA is a newer way to treat AFIB, and it's still being tested in the United States. It's like using quick electrical pulses to fix the heart.
  • How it works: Super-fast electrical pulses are used to create very precise scars in the heart, disrupting the abnormal electrical activity.
  • Unlike RFA and cryoablation, PFA is still in clinical trials in the U.S. It means it's not widely used until it gets approval from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).
  • Clinical trials help check if PFA is safe and effective, and FDA approval is essential before it's used more widely in the U.S.

Comparing the Three Techniques:

  • How well each technique works can vary depending on the patient and the doctor's skill.
  • All of them have pros and cons, and the choice depends on the patient's unique situation.
  • Complications can happen with any medical procedure, and the risk varies from person to person.

In Conclusion:

  • The field of medical technology is always changing, so it's crucial to stay updated.
  • Before choosing a treatment for AFIB, patients should consult with their doctors, who can help decide which method is best for them.

References (2020 and up):

  • Calkins H, Hindricks G, Cappato R, et al. 2020 HRS/EHRA/ECAS/APHRS/SOLAECE expert consensus statement on catheter and surgical ablation of atrial fibrillation. Europace. 2020;22(10):1602-1602.
  • Andrade JG, Dubuc M, Guerra PG, et al. The biophysics and biomechanics of cryoballoon ablation. Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 2010;33(4):482-491.
  • Kuck KH, Fürnkranz A, Chun KR, et al. Cryoballoon or radiofrequency ablation for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. N Engl J Med. 2016;374(23):2235-2245.

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