Pulsed field ablation for pulmonary vein isolation in the treatment of atrial fibrillation

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2020 Aug;31(8):2136-2147. doi: 10.1111/jce.14414. Epub 2020 May 16.


Pulsed-field ablation (PFA) is a promising new ablation modality for the treatment of atrial fibrillation. This energy form employs a train of microsecond duration high amplitude electrical pulses that ablate myocardium by electroporation of the sarcolemmal membrane without measurable tissue heating. The ablation pulse waveform has multiple variable components that can affect ablation efficacy, thus each proprietary system has unique properties that cannot be generalized to other systems. Success with PFA depends upon the proximity of the electrode to the target tissue, but not necessarily upon contact. A unique feature of PFA is tissue specificity. Myocardium is very susceptible to irreversible injury whereas the esophagus, phrenic nerves, pulmonary veins, and coronary arteries are relatively resistant to injury. The tissue specificity of PFA may result in a wide therapeutic range and improved safety profile during atrial fibrillation ablation. Vein isolation can be achieved very rapidly (seconds) promising that PFA may reduce procedure time to 1 hour or less. This attractive new technology promises to be a major advance in the field of atrial fibrillation ablation.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation; catheter ablation; pulsed-field ablation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation* / diagnosis
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / surgery
  • Catheter Ablation* / adverse effects
  • Esophagus
  • Humans
  • Phrenic Nerve
  • Pulmonary Veins* / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome