Reduced Procedure Time and Variability with Active Esophageal Cooling During Radiofrequency Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation

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Various methods are utilized during radiofrequency (RF) pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) for the treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF) to protect the esophagus from inadvertent thermal injury. Active esophageal cooling is increasingly being used over traditional luminal esophageal temperature (LET) monitoring, and each approach may influence procedure times and the variability around those times. The objective of this study is to measure the effects on procedure time and variability in procedure time of two different esophageal protection strategies utilizing advanced informatics techniques to facilitate data extraction. Trained clinical informaticists first performed a contextual inquiry in the catheterization laboratory to determine laboratory workflows and observe the documentation of procedural data within the electronic health record (EHR). These EHR data structures were then identified in the electronic health record reporting database, facilitating data extraction from the EHR. A manual chart review using a REDCap database created for the study was then performed to identify additional data elements, including the type of esophageal protection used. Procedure duration was then compared using summary statistics and standard measures of dispersion. A total of 164 patients underwent radiofrequency PVI over the study timeframe; 63 patients (38%) were treated with LET monitoring, and 101 patients (62%) were treated with active esophageal cooling. The mean procedure time was 176 min (SD of 52 min) in the LET monitoring group compared to 156 min (SD of 40 min) in the esophageal cooling group (P = 0.012). Thus, active esophageal cooling during PVI is associated with reduced procedure time and reduced variation in procedure time when compared to traditional LET monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere64417
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number186
StatePublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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