The results of the HEARTLIGHT study indicate that for patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, a visually guided laser balloon was noninferior to radio frequency ablation for pulmonary vein isolation.

The noninferiority finding is particularly meaningful because operators had much less experience with using the visually guided laser balloon (HeartLight Endoscopic Ablation System, CardioFocus) than with performing radiofrequency ablation, Vivek Y. Reddy, MD, director of cardiac electrophysiology at Mount Sinai Hospital, said during a press conference at the Heart Rhythm Society Annual Scientific Sessions.

“Each of the physicians has performed hundreds, if not thousands, of radiofrequency ablation procedures,” he said. “In contrast, physicians in the HEARTLIGHT study had relatively little experience using the laser balloon, even at the conclusion of the study. Most operators had never performed a laser balloon ablation, and none had performed more than 50 procedures. Despite that, there was similar efficacy. In the European experience, with increased experience, there were significant improvements in efficacy and safety.”

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