Atrial fibrillation is the most frequent arrhythmia with increasing prevalence. Given a limited success rate of drug therapy for atrial fibrillation, interventional treatment options have been developed during the last years. Catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation (until recently the mostly used energy source was radiofrequency energy) has been established as an important therapeutic alternative. Depending on interpersonal (both on patient and operator side) and technical variabilities using radiofrequency energy potentially life-threatening complications such as pulmonary vein stenosis or atrio-esophageal fistulas may occur. Cryoenergy is a novel energy source for transcatheter ablation eliminating the arrhythmia substrate by freezing. The cornerstone of catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation is electrical isolation of the pulmonary veins. During cryoballoon ablation the targeted pulmonary vein transiently occluded by the inflated balloon catheter and using this method a circumferential lesion is created. The success rate of cryoballoon ablation is comparable with the radiofrequency ablation with increased safety. We performed the first cryoballoon ablations for patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation in Hungary. On this occasion we review the potential advantages of this technique which may serve as basis for its widespread use in the future.
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