Medtronic Arctic Front Advance balloon is the device that
actually freezes the heart muscle to block the pathway causing
"Arctic Freeze" conjures up uninviting images of blowing
snow and biting cold temperatures. In medicine it gives patients an
easier, safer and more effective way to treat atrial fibrillation, a
common and potentially deadly heart condition. There are 400,000 new
cases diagnosed in the United States every year.
Lanzarotti, an electrophysiologist and medical director of cardiac
electrophysiology at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, is one of the most
experienced physicians in the country at using Arctic Cryoablation, a
new balloon technology that freezes abnormal tissue where the
irregular heart rhythm starts.
Charles Lanzarotti and Greg Bauer, a registered invasive
specialist, are positioning the cryo balloon. A technician maps
the location of the heart arrhythmia.
thrilled that we have this for our patients." Lanzarotti says,
"In my own clinical experience I get better results with
cryolablation." Lanzarotti floats a catheter through a vein in
the patientís groin to the upper left chamber of the heart where the
faulty heart rhythm starts. A computer helps him isolate abnormal
electrical activity. He inserts a small, deflated balloon through the
catheter to the problem spot, inflates the balloon with nitrous oxide
and freezes the tissue creating a lesion that will block the irregular
Ablation can be
performed using heat for atrial fibrillation but dozens of lesions
have to be created to cover the same area one balloon will treat.
Freezing is also considered gentler and less likely to damage
shares a success. "A dairy farmer from northern Illinois came to
me for a second opinion. Atrial fibrillation had weakened his heart to
the point where it was failing and his physician was recommending a
possible heart transplant. I treated him with a cryoablation. A year
later he is cured. He is off medication and his heart is back to