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Cardiology Research and Practice
Volume 2018 (2018), Article ID 6276241, 10 pages
Review Article

Radiofrequency Ablation versus Cryoablation in the Treatment of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation: A Meta-Analysis

1Central Michigan University, College of Medicine, Mt. Pleasant, MI, USA
2John’s Hopkins Institute, Baltimore, MD, USA
3Mclaren Cardiovascular Group, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Khalil Kanjwal; moc.oohay@lawjnaklilahk

Received 8 October 2017; Accepted 17 January 2018; Published 1 April 2018

Academic Editor: Syed Wamique Yusuf

Copyright © 2018 Ali H. Hachem et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Pulmonary vein isolation is commonly performed using radiofrequency energy with cryoablation gaining acceptance. We performed a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials which compared radiofrequency versus cryoablation for patients with atrial fibrillation. Methods. A systematic search strategy identified both published and unpublished articles from inception to November 10, 2016, in multiple databases. The primary outcomes for this meta-analysis were long-term freedom from atrial fibrillation at 12-month follow-up and overall postoperative complication rates. For all included studies, the methodological quality was assessed through the Cochrane Collaboration’s tool for risk of bias. Results. A total of 247 articles were identified with eight being included in this review as they satisfied the prespecified inclusion criteria. Overall, there was no significant difference in freedom from atrial fibrillation at ≥12-month follow-up between those receiving cryoballoon and radiofrequency ablation, respectively (OR = 0.98, CI = 0.67–1.43, I2 = 56%, ). Additionally, the secondary outcomes of duration of ablation, fluoroscopy time, and ablation time failed to reach significance. Cryoballoon ablation had significantly greater odds of postoperative phrenic nerve injury at 12-month follow-up. Conclusions. Our meta-analysis suggests that cryoballoon ablation provides comparable benefits with regard to freedom from atrial fibrillation at medium-term follow-up, fluoroscopy time, ablation time, operative duration, and overall complication rate in comparison to radiofrequency ablation.