Transmural atrial fibrosis after epicardial and endocardial argon-powered CryoMaze ablation

Robert Phillip Gallegos, Andrew L. Rivard, Taufiek K. Rajab, B. Chir, Jan D. Schmitto, Matthew T. Lahti, Nicole Kirchhof, Richard W. Bianco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The CryoMaze procedure is usually limited to endocardial ablation under cardiopulmonary bypass. Epicardial ablation is considered inferior as endocardial islets of atrial tissue could theoretically remain viable, protected from cryoinjury by epicardial fat and endocardial circulating warm blood. Novel argon-powered cryoprobes with lower ablation temperatures have recently become available. It is unclear if these instruments can reliably induce transmural atrial fibrosis by epicardial cryoablation on the beating heart. Methods: Ten sheep were divided into two equal groups. CryoMaze ablations were applied using an argon-powered cryoprobe with an ablation temperature of -185°C. In the control group, standardized ablations (n = 50) were applied endocardially under cardiopulmonary bypass. In the experimental group, corresponding ablations (n = 50) were applied epicardially on the beating heart. Postoperatively the animals were monitored for 30 days. At necropsy, the lesions were explanted and analyzed histologically for evidence of transmural fibrosis. Results: Two animals in the control group and one animal in the experimental group died prematurely. Autopsy of the remaining animals showed that all lesions (n = 70) had retained their structural integrity. In the control group, histology demonstrated transmural fibrosis in 94% (28/30) of the endocardially applied lesions. In the experimental group, histology demonstrated transmural fibrosis in 95% (38/40) of the epicardially applied lesions. Statistical analysis revealed no significant difference between the two groups (p = 0.96). Conclusion: Argon-powered epicardial cryoablation on the beating heart is as efficient in inducing transmural fibrosis as the traditional technique of endocardial ablation under cardio-pulmonary bypass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-243
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Cardiac Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011


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