Advancing Afib treatment, new procedure saves heart tissue

Baptist Health is one of the first in the U.S. to use Pulsed Field Ablation, a targeted technology that can lead to more precise procedures and better outcomes for patients.

Jacksonville, FL.

Atrial fibrillation (Afib) occurs when there is a malfunction in the electrical signals that tell the heart to beat. This causes the heart to beat too slowly, too quickly or irregularly. The disorder increases a patient’s risk of having blood clots, strokes, heart failure and other heart-related complications.

Experts predict the number of people with Afib will rise to 12.1 million by 2030. As the number of people with this common heart rhythm disorder grows, so does the need for innovative treatment options. In the Jacksonville area alone, those in need of treatment is predicted to rise by nearly 70% over the next ten years.

Baptist Health is poised to meet this growing community need through its robust electrophysiology (EP) program, which harnesses the latest technological advancements to care for the heart’s electrical system and help patients regain their normal heart rhythm. Recently, Baptist Health became one of the first health systems in the U.S. to adopt a new, cutting-edge technology to treat patients with Afib.

Pulsed Field Ablation (PFA) is a minimally invasive technology that uses electrical fields to increase precision and target only the heart cells causing irregular heartbeats. Afib is commonly treated with ablation therapy, a procedure that typically uses heat or extreme cold to re-map the electrical signals causing the heart to beat irregularly.

With PFA, patients spend less time under general anesthesia because the outpatient procedure can be up to 60 minutes quicker than conventional ablation procedures. This decreases the chance of complications, speeds up recovery times and enhances the patients’ overall experience.

Cardiac electrophysiologists Matthew McKillop, MD, FACC, FHRS, and Christopher Austin, MD, FACC, performed the PFA procedures using the PulseSelectTM device at Baptist Health’s Heart Rhythm Center. The state-of-the-art center is a “one-stop” destination offering specialized pre-operative, procedure and post-operative care close to home.

“Ablations are often the best form of therapy for patients with Afib,” said Dr. McKillop, who is the medical director of Baptist Health’s EP program. “Early in my career, ablations took eight hours to perform but now we can do them in less than two. The increased precision offered by these new, innovative technologies is leading to more efficient procedures with better outcomes for our patients who appreciate the convenience of being able to go home the same day.”

For more information on Afib and other heart rhythm disorders, visit