With the deaths that have recently surfaced caused by esophageal perforation following cryoablation procedures for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, Dr. John Mandrola (a fellow colleague and EP-blogger) delves deeper into the incidence, issues, and current recommendations that might improve the safety of the procedure over at theHeart.org today. It's an excellent review of the current state of the art as he's been able to review it. Go now and read his piece.
Of course, as Dr. Mandrola points out, although the incidence of this deadly complication is rare, there is still much we don't know about this procedure's long-term safety, especially as newly-engineered cryoballoons enter the EP community's ablation toolkits. Careful long-term assessment of this technology's safety and efficacy, as well as its safety compared to more conventional radiofrequency ablation techniques for pulmonary vein isolation, remain unknown.