Heart and Vascular

Pioneering a New Era in Cardiac Care: St. Mary’s Hospital First in Virginia to Offer Pulsed Field Ablation Treatment for AFib

Feb 22 2024

The following copy was contributed by An Bui, MD, an electrophysiologist with Bon Secours – Cardiology and Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology in our Richmond market.

As an electrophysiologist dedicated to advancing cardiac care, I’m thrilled to share groundbreaking news with our community in Central Virginia.

Our ministry is proud to be the first in the state to offer a revolutionary FDA-approved procedure for treating atrial fibrillation (AFib) – Pulsed Field Ablation (PFA).

This cutting-edge technology from Medtronic, known formally as the PulseSelect™ Pulsed Field Ablation (PFA) System, represents a significant milestone in cardiac care as well as Bon Secours’ ongoing commitment to providing the highest standard of care to our patients.

Atrial fibrillation is a prevalent cardiac condition characterized by irregular heart rhythms, which can lead to serious complications such as stroke, heart failure and other cardiovascular issues. Until this point, modern ablation treatment has been dependent on the use of thermal energy, radiofrequency (heating) vs. cryoablation (freezing) techniques. This treatment method, while effective, can sometimes cause unwanted injury to surrounding tissues.

The new Pulsed Field Ablation system is a new technology, demonstrated to improve the safety and efficiency of ablation of both paroxysmal and persistent atrial fibrillation.

As indicated by its name, it utilizes pulsed electrical fields that result in selective targeting of cells during ablation, a paradigm shift from thermal ablation technology. This treatment has been validated in clinical trials and received FDA approval in December of 2023. The first case in the United States utilizing this innovative technology occurred just earlier this month and we are proud to be the first in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and among the first in the nation, to introduce this new treatment option to patients.

This innovative approach offers several key advantages:

  • Enhanced safety: Due to the selective effect of pulse electrical fields, PFA is associated with low risk of complications such as damage to surrounding tissues and blood vessels. The non-thermal nature of PFA minimizes the risk of collateral damage, making it a safe option for many patients.
  • Faster recovery: PFA procedures have been demonstrated to be short and efficient. This allows for decreased anesthesia exposure, promote same day discharge and allows individuals to resume their daily activities sooner and enjoy an improved quality of life post-treatment.
  • Potential for broader application: PFA’s unique mechanism of action opens up possibilities for treating a wider range of cardiac arrhythmias beyond AFib. As research in this field continues to evolve, we anticipate further advancements in our ability to effectively manage various heart rhythm disorders.

By introducing Pulsed Field Ablation, our ministry is not only providing our patients with access to the latest innovations in cardiac care but also reaffirming our position as a leader in medical excellence within the Richmond region, the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond. Our multidisciplinary team of cardiac experts are dedicated to ensuring that each patient receives quality, compassionate care tailored to their unique needs and circumstances.

As an electrophysiologist, I’m excited about the transformative potential of Pulsed Field Ablation and the positive impact it will have on the lives of our patients. And as the director of electrophysiology, I’m proud that Bon Secours is embracing innovation and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in cardiac medicine. We are certainly shaping a brighter future for cardiovascular health in the communities we serve.

If you or someone you know has atrial fibrillation and is interested in exploring the Pulsed Field Ablation procedure, please give us a call at 804-288-3123.

Also, learn more about atrial fibrillation and the services we provide patients in Richmond, Va.

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