Information for the public
What has NICE said?
Percutaneous endoscopic laser balloon pulmonary vein isolation for atrial fibrillation works well enough for use in the NHS, but there are serious, well-known risks associated with this procedure. It should only be used if extra care is taken to explain the risks and extra steps are put in place to record and review what happens.
A healthcare team experienced in electrophysiology (diagnosing and treating electrical problems of the heart) and in doing complex ablation procedures should decide which patients should be offered percutaneous endoscopic laser balloon pulmonary vein isolation and should carry out treatment.
NICE is asking health professionals to send information about everyone who has the procedure and what happens to them afterwards to the UK Central Cardiac Audit Database so that the safety of the procedure can be checked over time.
What does this mean for me?
Your health professional should fully explain what is involved in having this procedure, and discuss the possible benefits and risks with you. In particular, they should explain the potential complications, the risk of atrial fibrillation returning and the uncertainty about how likely the procedure is to be successful in the short term. You should also be told how to find more information about the procedure. You should only be asked if you want this procedure after having this discussion. Your health professional should ask you if details of your procedure can be collected.
Other comments from NICE
NICE said that most of the evidence is on using this procedure in younger patients and in people with atrial fibrillation that comes and goes.