Cryoballoon ablation of pulmonary veins for persistent atrial fibrillation: Results from the multicenter STOP Persistent AF trial

STOP Persistent AF Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) is the cornerstone of catheter ablation to treat patients with symptomatic drug-refractory atrial fibrillation (AF). Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the safety and efficacy of PVI using the cryoballoon catheter to treat patients with persistent AF. Methods: STOP Persistent AF ( Identifier: NCT03012841) was a prospective, multicenter, single-arm, Food and Drug Administration–regulated trial designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of PVI-only cryoballoon ablation for drug-refractory persistent AF (continuous episodes <6 months). The primary efficacy endpoint was 12-month freedom from ≥30 seconds of AF, atrial flutter (AFL), or atrial tachycardia (AT) after a 90-day blanking period. The prespecified performance goals were set at >40% and <13% for the primary efficacy and safety endpoints, respectively. Secondary endpoints assessed quality of life using the AFEQT (Atrial Fibrillation Effect on Quality of Life) and SF (Short Form)-12 questionnaires. Results: Of 186 total enrollments, 165 subjects (70% male; age 65 ± 9 years; left atrial diameter 4.2 ± 0.6 cm; body mass index 31 ± 6) were treated at 25 sites in the United States, Canada, and Japan. Total procedural, left atrial dwell, and fluoroscopy times were 121 ± 46 minutes, 102 ± 41 minutes, and 19 ± 16 minutes, respectively. At 12 months, the primary efficacy endpoint was 54.8% (95% confidence [CI] 46.7%–62.1%) freedom from AF, AFL, or AT. There was 1 primary safety event, translating to a rate of 0.6% (95% CI 0.1%–4.4%). AFEQT and SF-12 assessments demonstrated significant improvements from baseline to 12 months postablation (P <.001). Conclusion: The STOP Persistent AF trial demonstrated cryoballoon ablation to be safe and effective in treating patients with drug-refractory persistent AF characterized by continuous AF episodes <6 months.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1841-1847
Number of pages7
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Cryoballoon ablation
  • Persistent atrial fibrillation
  • Pulmonary vein isolation
  • Quality of life
  • Repeat ablation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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