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10-11-2020 | Original Article | Uitgave 12/2020 Open Access

Netherlands Heart Journal 12/2020

High incidence of (ultra)low oesophageal temperatures during cryoballoon pulmonary vein isolation for atrial fibrillation

Netherlands Heart Journal > Uitgave 12/2020
M. M. D. Molenaar, T. Hesselink, M. F. Scholten, K. Kraaier, D. E. Bouman, M. Brusse-Keizer, Y. J. Stevenhagen, P. F. H. M. van Dessel, B. ten Haken, J. G. Grandjean, J. M. van Opstal



Low oesophageal temperatures (OTs) during cryoballoon pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) have been associated with complications. This study assessed the incidence of low OT in clinical practice during cryoballoon PVI and verified possible predictive values for low OT.


Consecutive patients who underwent PVI using the second-generation cryoballoon were retrospectively included. The distance from the oesophagus to the different pulmonary veins (PVs) (OP distance), body mass index (BMI), sex, age, balloon temperature and application time were studied as potential predictors of low OTs. Computed tomography was performed before the procedure to determine the OP distance. OT was measured using an oesophageal temperature probe. Applications were ended prematurely if the OT reached <16 °C. Low and ultralow OT were defined as OT <20 and <16 °C respectively.


Two hundred and four patients were included. Low OT was observed in 54 patients (26%) and 27 patients (13%) reached ultralow OTs. OP distance was the only predictor of low OTs after multivariate analysis. A cut-off value of 19 mm showed 96.2% sensitivity and 37.8% specificity in predicting low OTs. No clinically relevant relation was found between low OTs and BMI, age, sex, balloon temperature or application duration.


The incidence of low OT was 26% for cryoballoon PVI. OP distance was the only predictor of low OTs. Since an OP distance <19 mm was present in all patients in at least one PV, we recommend routine OT measurement during PVI cryoballoon therapy to prevent oesophagus-related complications.

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Netherlands Heart Journal

Het Netherlands Heart Journal wordt uitgegeven in samenwerking met de Nederlandse Vereniging voor Cardiologie en de Nederlandse Hartstichting. Het tijdschrift is Engelstalig en wordt gratis beschikbaa ...

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