Guest Column

New pulsed field ablation technology available to treat AFib


Atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib, is an irregular heartbeat that puts patients at risk for serious health issues like 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.

Given how common AFib is, researchers are continuously evaluating the latest approaches for safe and effective patient care. Pulsed field ablation is the latest emerging technology used to treat AFib. My team of cardiologists at Ascension St. Vincent’s is proud to be the first in North Florida to offer this now FDA-approved technology commercially to all patients. We believe this innovation has the potential to transform how we treat AFib.

Traditional AFib Treatments

Today, the standard approaches to AFib treatment have been medication, cardioversion and catheter ablation. 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.

About Pulsed Field Ablation

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. Since it is non-thermal, pulsed field ablation is less likely to damage structures around the heart such as the esophagus. Because of this, patients often report minimal to no chest discomfort following the procedure.

Benefits of Pulsed Field Ablation

Pulsed field ablation has the potential to help millions of patients with AFib as it will be much more accessible for both healthy and sick patients. It’s safe, quick and minimally invasive, making it a good option for many patients with symptomatic AFib.

Compared to traditional forms of ablation, pulsed field ablation has the potential to reduce procedure times by as much as 50% with less anesthesia and discomfort to the patient. The procedure can also be completed with a milder form of anesthesia (the same kind used during a colonoscopy), making it easier and more comfortable for patients.

According to Boston Scientific, more than 40,000 patients have been treated with this specific system to date, both commercially and through clinical trials. Multiple long-term studies have found this new approach to be safe and effective, with faster procedure times and less risk to adjacent structures.

Take Control of Your AFib Care

St. Vincent’s has a legacy of innovation in heart care, beginning in 1959 with the first open-heart surgery in Jacksonville. For nearly 60 years now, cardiovascular offerings at St. Vincent’s have grown significantly, and we’ve worked hard to bring in some of the most innovative, caring and talented doctors within our fields to ensure our care teams deliver compassionate, personalized care to everyone we are privileged to serve. Today, we carry on this legacy of innovation with cutting-edge treatments like pulsed field ablation.

If you or a loved one have struggled with symptoms of AFib, such as heart palpitations/fluttery heartbeat, dizziness and fatigue, don’t wait. Schedule an appointment with one of our cardiologists to discuss your treatment options today.

Dr. Saumil Oza is a cardiologist at St. Vincent’s Riverside. For more information on Dr. Oza and his specialty in treating AFib, go to or call 904-388-1820.


Dr. Saumil Oza