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WVU Heart and Vascular Institute first in state, region to use pulsed field ablation to treat atrial fibrillation

WVU Heart and Vascular Institute physicians are the first in the state and region to perform pulsed field ablation (PFA), a new minimally invasive technique to address atrial fibrillation (AFib) using the Medtronic PulseSelect™ PFA system.

Atrial fibrillation, an irregular and often very rapid heart rhythm, affects more than 5 million Americans and is rapidly increasing in incidence. Atrial fibrillation is associated with poor quality of life, stroke, heart failure and death.

Ablation is a technique in which heart tissue is altered using extreme heat or cold to render it more resistant to arrhythmia. Catheter ablation is a minimally invasive procedure in which wires are threaded into the heart through arteries in the legs that are accessed with hollow needles and without cutting the skin.

This technique requires significant time to affect the heart tissue and can potentially cause damage to nearby non-heart tissue. PFA achieves the same therapeutic effect on the heart tissue much more rapidly and without requiring temperature extremes, thus protecting non-heart tissue.

“We believe that PFA will turn out to be an invaluable tool for combating arrhythmias,” Dr. David Schwartzman, WVU Heart and Vascular Institute chief of Cardiac Electrophysiology, said. “This new technology can improve patient safety, and we hope it will help us treat arrhythmias that have been beyond the reach of thermal methods. I am honored to be a member of a team dedicated to pushing boundaries in pursuit of better outcomes for the people who entrust their care to us.”

Two patients underwent the PFA procedure Feb. 20 and were expected to return to full activity within 24-48 hours.

The Medtronic PulseSelect™ PFA system is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of atrial fibrillation.

For more information on the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, visit