PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend first in state to use new heart treatment

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend recently became the first hospital in Oregon to offer a new procedure to more safely treat patients suffering from atrial fibrillation — a common heart rhythm disorder.  More than 59 million people worldwide have atrial fibrillation, a condition that can worsen without early intervention.

Symptoms from atrial fibrillation include irregular, fast heartbeats, palpitations associated with chest pain, exercise intolerance, or shortness of breath.

The new procedure, called pulsed field ablation, involves inserting catheters into the heart’s chambers through large veins. Medical staff then use a device that discharges a series of electrical pulses to destroy the abnormal cells causing the condition. The energy from the electrical pulses is narrowly focused, minimizing the risk of damaging surrounding healthy cells. Patients are often discharged within four to six hours after the procedure’s completion.

Prior to this new technology, the procedure also involved inserting catheters into the heart chambers but instead used heat or freezing energy to target the sites that commonly induced atrial fibrillation.

“We are excited to bring this new, safer technology to our community,” said Barry Royce, director at the Oregon Heart and Vascular Institute at RiverBend. “This will increase our ability to care for more of our community members, using a safer technique, without changing the high level of quality care they have come to expect from PeaceHealth.”

The Oregon Heart and Vascular Institute at RiverBend is the only facility between San Francisco and Portland and one of the first in the nation to offer pulsed field ablation.

Pulsed field ablation was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in December 2023. Medical staff at the Oregon Heart and Vascular Institute have successfully completed more than 30 procedures since the hospital first used the technology on April 19.

About PeaceHealth: PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Wash., is a non-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. PeaceHealth has approximately 16,000 caregivers, more than 3,000 providers, more than 160 clinics and 9 medical centers serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Northwest. In 1890, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace founded what has become PeaceHealth. The Sisters shared expertise and transferred wisdom from one medical center to another, always finding the best way to serve the unmet need for healthcare in their communities. Today, PeaceHealth is the legacy of the founding Sisters and continues with a spirit of respect, stewardship, collaboration and social justice in fulfilling its Mission. Visit us online at peacehealth.org. 

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