February 12, 2021
Pulsed field ablation is a new approach to treating patients with atrial fibrillation (A Fib). Andrea Natale, M.D., F.H.R.S., F.A.C.C., F.E.S.C., cardiac electrophysiologist and executive medical director of Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute (TCAI) at St. David’s Medical Center (TCAI), recently participated in the first-in-human trials of this catheter in Europe.
Pulse field ablation uses a controlled electric field instead of thermal energy to ablate or burn cardiac tissue during simple and complex ablation procedures through a process known as irreversible electroporation (IRE). This technique may prevent collateral damage to surrounding tissue during ablation.
“The process of irreversible electroporation is an exciting new approach in our field, as it may reduce the risk of complications such as pulmonary stenosis (narrowing of an artery) or esophageal fistulas (abnormal connections between the esophagus and heart). While rare, esophageal fistulas can be life-threatening,” Dr. Natale said. “This treatment may also reduce or eliminate chest pain that often occurs following surgery, as well as result in a shorter recovery.”
Physicians will test the catheter on approximately 40 patients in Europe, with in-human trials expected in the U.S. this summer.