Background: Pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) using cryoballoon catheters are a recognized method for the treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF). This method offers shorter treatment duration in contrast to the classical therapy with high-frequency (HF) ablation.
Purpose: The aim of this study was to integrate different cryoballoon catheters and a HF catheter into a heart rhythm model and to compare them by means of static and dynamic electromagnetic and thermal simulation in use under AF.
Methods: The cryoballoon catheters from Medtronic and the HF ablation catheter from Osypka were modelled virtually with the aid of manufacturer specifications and the CST (Computer Simulation Technology, Darmstadt) simulation program. The cryoballoon catheter was located in the lower left pulmonary vein of the virtual heart rhythm model for the realization of pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) by cryoenergy. The simulated temperature at the balloon surface was -50°C during the simulation.
Results: During a simulated 20 second application of a cryoballoon catheter at -50°C, a temperature of -24°C was measured at a depth of 0.5 mm in the myocardium. At a depth of 1 mm the temperature was -3°C, at 2 mm depth 18°C and at 3 mm depth 29°C. Under the 15 second application of a RF catheter with a 8 mm electrode and a power of 5 W at 420 kHz, the temperature at the tip of the electrode was 110°C. At a depth of 0.5 mm in the myocardium, the temperature was 75°C, at a depth of 1 mm 58°C, at 2 mm depth 45°C and at 3 mm depth 38°C.
Conclusions: The simulation of temperature profiles during the virtual application of several catheter models in the heart rhythm model allows the static and dynamic simulation of PVI by cryoballoon ablation and RF ablation. The three-dimensional simulation can be used to improve ablation applications by creating a model in personalized cardiac rhythm therapy from MRI or CT data of a heart and finding a favourable position for ablation of AF.