Novant Health Heart & Vascular Institute brings next generation of AFib treatment to local patients

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 11, 2024

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WINSTON-SALEM — Novant Health recently introduced a new treatment option for patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib), the most common type of cardiac arrhythmia, and a condition that is expected to affect more than 12 million people in the United States by 2030.
The technology, created by Medtronic and referred to as Pulsed Field Ablation (PFA), was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and involves the use of pulsed electrical fields sent through a catheter to treat misfiring cardiac tissue in the heart. The goal: Permanently correct the patient’s irregular heartbeat.
“More than 450,000 people are hospitalized each year with AFib as their primary diagnosis,” said Dr. Mark Mitchell, clinical physician executive for Novant Health Heart & Vascular Institute in the greater Winston-Salem region. “In other words, it’s a serious condition that needs to be addressed to avoid life-threatening complications down the road. While other ablation technologies have been prized for decades, this is the first time we are using an electrical current instead of thermal temperature to correct the problem area of the heart. Clinical trials suggest that this will lead to safer outcomes and shorter procedure times for our patients.”
The first procedures at Novant Health took place on April 3 at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, and Novant Health New Hanover Medical Center in Wilmington.
“AFib causes symptoms and can increase risk of heart failure and stroke, so it’s important to identify and successfully treat the condition,” said Dr. Bill Smith, clinical physician executive for Novant Health Heart & Vascular Institute in the coastal region. “Launching this new treatment at two sites on the same day is a testament to a strong effort from across our Heart & Vascular Institute to offer the latest advanced treatment options to our patients.”
Patients suffering from irregular heartbeats do not always know it. Some individuals can experience one or more symptoms, including fatigue, a rapid heartbeat, fluttering in the chest, dizziness, shortness of breath and anxiety, weakness or fainting.
Novant Health is nationally recognized for providing comprehensive heart and vascular care across North Carolina. The Novant Health Heart & Vascular Institute offers a multidisciplinary team approach that includes the patient’s primary care clinician, cardiologist and, if necessary, specialists from electrophysiology and the cardiac intervention team. Patients can also access the latest in advanced technology and minimally invasive treatment options at convenient locations across North Carolina.
If you or someone you know has AFib, talk to your doctor to see if PFA is a possible treatment option. Learn more about heart and vascular care at Novant Health by visiting