Bon Secours St. Mary’s becomes first Virginia hospital to use new AFib procedure: 'It's very exciting'

Posted at 12:26 PM, Feb 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-28 13:02:16-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital is now offering a new, innovative FDA-approved procedure for atrial fibrillation (AFib).

AFib is among the most common abnormal heart rhythm disorders.

Now, mere months after its Food and Drug Administration approval, Bon Secours successfully performed four procedures with a Pulsed Field Ablation (PFA) System.

Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital is the first hospital in the state to do so.

Dr. An Bui, the Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology for Bon Secours Richmond, called the new Pulsed Field Ablation technology the future of his field.

"Rather than using thermal energy, we can deliver a pulse of electrical impulses locally to the cell, and it is actually cellular selective," Dr. Bui told CBS 6 News. "We can impact those cells while sparing the surrounding tissues such as nerves, like the phrenic nerves, or esophagus, which can sometimes be in very close proximity."

The traditional method of treating AFib uses thermal technology to essentially freeze cells that trigger the abnormal heartbeat.

While it’s a tried-and-true procedure, Bui said this new pulsed field method puts up an electrical fence that stops those triggers.

"There's going to be more iterations of versions of technology to come to allow us to treat various arrhythmia, and that's the future of our field. It's very exciting. This is, you know, the first step," Bui said. "This gives us another tool in the bag to allow us to treat patients in a safe fashion."

Atrial fibrillation is sometimes called a quivering heartbeat.

It can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications.

Left untreated, it can double the risk of heart-related deaths and makes a patient five times more likely to suffer a stroke.

Bui said data and medical literature showed better outcomes the earlier a patient is treated for AFib.

Bon Secours Richmond reported each of the procedures using the Pulse Field Ablation technology, manufactured by Medtronic, took about two hours per case and everyone went home the same day. To learn more about available AFib treatments, or to see if the PFA system could be a treatment option for you, you can reach Bon Secours at (804) 288-3123.

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