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Cardiac Catheter Cryoablation

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:


Cardiac Catheter Cryoablation

(Cryotherapy; Cryoablation)


Cardiac catheter cryoablation uses cold to destroy certain heart cells.

Reasons for Procedure

This procedure is done to disable heart cells that cause uneven heartbeats called arrhythmias. After the procedure, the heartbeats should be normal.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Damage to nearby structures
  • Abnormal heartbeats
  • Heart attack

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Smoking
  • Long-term diseases such as heart disease, diabetes or obesity

What to Expect

Problems To Look Out For

Call your doctor if you are not feeling better or you have:

  • Fever or chills
  • Redness, swelling, pain, excess bleeding, or discharge from the insertion site
  • Numbness, tingling, or a white or blue color in your leg or arm
  • Problems breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain in the jaw, chest, neck, arms, or upper back
  • Lightheadedness or weakness

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

Prior to Procedure

The care team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before the procedure
  • Fasting before the procedure, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Whether you need a ride to and from the procedure
  • Tests that will need to be done before the procedure




  • Ablation for arrhythmias. American Heart Association website. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/arrhythmia/prevention--treatment-of-arrhythmia/ablation-for-arrhythmias#.W0On_tVKhQI.
  • Andrade, J.G., Wells, G.A., et al. Cryoablation or drug therapy for initial treatment of atrial fibrillation. N Engl J Med, 2021; 384 (4): 305-315.
  • Arrhythmias in congenital heart disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/arrhythmias-in-congenital-heart-disease.
  • Catheter ablation. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/catheter-ablation.
  • Heart treatments. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/heart-treatments-procedures.


  • Nicole Meregian, PA
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.