Heart and Vascular

Vassar Brothers Medical Center now offers innovative treatment for cardiac condition

VBMC uses cryoablation to treat heart condition


Cardiac patients experiencing an irregular heart rhythm, known commonly as atrial fibrillation, have a new, minimally invasive treatment option at Vassar Brothers Medical Center.

Cardiac electrophysiologists with specialized training in treating atrial fibrillation (AFib) now perform cryoablation procedures. The treatment uses a balloon catheter that is frozen with liquid nitrogen and inflated to scar and destroy the tissue causing the arrythmia.

“The innovative cryoballoon technology offers a new, first-line treatment, providing us with a safe and effective option to improve AFib patients’ outcomes early on before their condition progresses,” electrophysiologist Dr. Sankar Varanasi said. “By treating patients with the most advanced, clinically relevant technology, we are better equipped to successfully manage their condition and recurring symptoms using a minimally invasive approach.”

Cryoablation therapy is also offered at Nuvance Health’s Danbury Hospital in Connecticut.

Other options to treat AFib include ablation using radiofrequency energy, or heat, to disable the abnormal tissue and correct the irregular heartbeat.

“With cryoablation, we can return normal function to those cells by allowing the tissue to warm back up if we feel there is any concern for safety,” Varanasi said.

Other advantages to cryoablation typically include a shorter procedure and less pain to the patient than radiofrequency ablation, Varanasi said. Both, however, are safe and effective in most cases.

Cryoablation is generally indicated for patients with paroxysmal AFib, a condition where their symptoms come and go.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than 12.1 million people in the United States will have AFib in 2030. AFib is a progressive condition that, if left untreated, can lead to blood clots, strokes, heart failure and death.

Learn more about AFib and cardiac services offered at Nuvance Health.