Holding a model of a heart.

Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside Offers FDA-Approved Pulsed Field Ablation Treatment for AFib Patients

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside is the first health system in North Florida to offer FDA-approved pulsed field ablation treatment for patients with symptomatic atrial fibrillation (AFib). The technology is a unique new alternative to standard-of-care thermal ablation treatment.

According to Saumil Oza, MD, St. Vincent’s cardiologist, this form of non-thermal energy delivery leads to safer and more effective outcomes for patients.

“This has the potential to help millions of patients with AFib as it will be much more accessible,” said Dr. Oza. “Both for healthier people, due to the safety of it, as well as sicker people, as it will be quick and very minimally invasive.” 

Dr. Oza explained that pulsed field ablation has the potential to reduce procedure times by as much as fifty percent with less anesthesia and discomfort to the patient. “The technology allows us to avoid collateral damage to structures around the heart, such as certain nerves and the esophagus, which makes it safer,” he said. “The procedure can also be completed with a milder form of anesthesia, making it easier for patients and more comfortable.”

AFib is an irregular heartbeat that puts patients at risk for more serious health issues such as heart failure and stroke. It is the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia and will affect an estimated 12.1 million Americans by 2030, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC also states the death rate from AFib as a primary or contributing cause of death has been rising for more than two decades.

During a traditional ablation treatment, a specialized cardiologist known as an electrophysiologist inserts catheters through the blood vessels into the heart to burn (radiofrequency ablation) or freeze (cryoablation) the tissue causing abnormal electrical signals in the upper chamber, or atrium. The procedure has been used for decades to create scarring that can help restore a normal heartbeat. 

Pulsed field ablation is a novel technology to treat conditions like AFib. Instead of burning or freezing tissue, pulsed field ablation shocks targeted cardiology tissues with a controlled electric field for a more precise and faster procedure. Due to the non-thermal nature of the ablation, doctors say it is also less likely to damage structures around the heart such as the esophagus.

For more information about the cardiology program or to schedule an appointment with St. Vincent’s, visit Ascension.org/JaxHeart.

About Ascension St. Vincent’s

Ascension St. Vincent’s, based in Jacksonville, Florida, operates four hospitals and more than 90 other sites of care and employs more than 5,300 associates. In fiscal year 2023, Ascension St. Vincent’s provided more than $87.7 million in community benefit and care for persons living in poverty. Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care. As one of the leading non-profit and Catholic health systems in the U.S., Ascension is committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. 

Visit www.ascension.org