SMH Physicians Using Break-Through Device to Treat Patients with AFib

SMH Physicians Using Break-Through Device to Treat Patients with AFib

Friday, March 1, 2024

SARASOTA, Fla. (March 1, 2024) – Sarasota Memorial physicians are among the first in the nation performing pulsed field ablation (PFA), a break-through therapy to treat people with atrial fibrillation, or irregular heart rhythms.

Sarasota electrophysiologists Antonio Moretta, MD, and Smriti Banthia, MD, performed the first four procedures at SMH-Sarasota on Thursday using Medtronic’sAntonio Moretta, MD PulseSelect system, the first PFA device approved for commercial use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of patients with paroxysmal (periodic) or persistent atrial fibrillation (Afib).

Traditionally, catheter ablation is a technique in which heart tissue is treated with extreme heat (radiofrequency ablation) or cold (cryotherapy) to destroy the tissue triggering Afib. The break-through PFA delivers fast, controlled electrical pulses through a cardiac ablation catheter to achieve the same therapeutic effect on the heart tissue. Studies suggest it could become a safer alternative to traditional catheter ablation because PFA does not use heat or freezing temperatures, which may reduce the risk of scarring to adjacent, healthy tissue.

“We are excited to bring this break-through treatment to our community,” said Dr. Moretta. “Afib is a common and undertreated heart rhythm disorders. PFA gives us a safe, effective tool to treat their arrhythmias, and a possibe alternative we can use beyond the reach of thermal methods.”

AF is a progressive condition that affects more than 59 million people worldwide. Without early intervention, the condition can worsen over time, increasing the risk for stroke, heart failure and death.

The four patients treated at SMH today were the first group of patients in Florida treated with Medtronic’s new technology since it received FDA approval in December 2023. All four patients are doing well and expected to be discharged within 24 hours. They should be able to return to normal activities within a couple of weeks.

News Update:
On March 21, 2024, SMH's electrophysiology team advanced yet another break-through device to treat patients with irregular heart rhythms. Sarasota electrophysiologists Robert Eckart, DO, FACC, FHRS, and Brian Betensky, MD, FACC, FHRS, joined the first wave of cardiac specialists using Boston Scientific's new FARAPULSE system, the second FDA-approved PFA system to become commercially available this year to treat atrial fibrillation. They completed their first three cases on March 21. All three patients were discharged and are doing well.

About Sarasota Memorial Health Care System

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional health system offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of care, with more than 10,000 employees and 1.5 million patient visits each year across its two hospital campuses, freestanding ER, skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, cancer institute, behavioral health pavilion and regional network of outpatient/urgent care centers and physician practices. For information, visit