Pulsed electric field ablation, known for inducing irreversible electroporation, represents a cutting-edge technology. By administering controlled electric shocks, it enables the highly selective destruction of cardiac tissue responsible for arrhythmias. This method, utilizing electrical energy, emerges as a third option alongside the two primary interventional procedures currently prevalent in this field: radiofrequency ablation and cryoablation.
Similar to the two existing techniques, pulsed electric field ablation is conducted using a catheter inserted through an incision in the groin and into the left atrium. Notably, this procedure boasts a shorter overall duration compared to the current methods and, based on the accumulated experience to date, it significantly minimizes the risk of complications for the patient.
Bellvitge University Hospital was among the pioneering hospitals within the Catalan Institute of Health and one of the first ten in Spain to adopt this cutting-edge technique.
The hospital has initiated the application of pulsed electric field ablation in patients with persistent paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, the most prevalent arrhythmia in the general population and the one most frequently addressed in arrhythmia units.
Dr Ignasi Anguera, director of the Arrhythmia Unit at Bellvitge Hospital, highlights the tremendous potential of this new technology: "It is highly specific, selectively targeting only the cardiac muscle tissue that requires treatment, with virtually no collateral damage."
Furthermore, the shorter intervention time, in comparison to other procedures, is anticipated to enhance the efficiency of interventional wards and subsequently increase the total number of patients treated annually.
Ignasi Anguera suggests that pulsed electric field ablation could potentially emerge as the preferred treatment, supplanting current techniques. However, this shift will depend on the outcomes observed in the years to come.
Bellvitge University Hospital is a renowned centre for the interventional treatment of complex arrhythmias, conducting approximately 150 such interventions annually.