Medtronic's Arctic Front Advance

Courtesy of Medtronic

The vast majority of treatments for atrial fibrillation involve radiofrequency ablation, which uses heat to move point-by-point through pulmonary veins and correct errant heartbeats. But with August's FDA sign-off on the Arctic Front Advance, Medtronic ($MDT) is the only devicemaker in the world with a cryoballoon on the market for AF.

Medtronic's device is a catheter-delivered balloon that emits coolant from within, presenting a large, uniform cold surface that reduces the need for surgeons to isolate pulmonary veins when treating paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Medtronic says its system is far more efficient than radiofrequency devices, working faster and treating more complicated anatomies than its competitors.

In data submitted to the FDA, 73% of patients treated with Arctic Front Advance were free of AF in a one-year follow up, a clinically significant increase over radiofrequency treatment and standard drug therapy, Medtronic says.

AF devices are a lone bright spot, however small, in Medtronic's slumping cardiac rhythm disease management business, pulling in $58 million in sales last quarter, a 15.6% jump over the year before.

Medtronic's Arctic Front Advance