Memorial becomes the first hospital in Northern California to use POLARx™ technology to treat atrial fibrillation

November 27, 2023 Providence News Team

Providence Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital recently became the first hospital in Northern California to use the POLARx™ Cryoablation System to treat paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF).

This condition causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate that starts and stops spontaneously, causing chest pain, lightheadedness, fatigue, and heart palpitations that last anywhere from minutes to days. AFib is one of the most common heart rhythm disorders, affecting millions of people in the U.S. alone. Approximately 40% of individuals with the condition experience the PAF variation.

“I’ve performed cryoablation at Providence Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital since it was first introduced 13 years ago,” said Peter Chang-Sing, M.D., who is the only electrophysiologist to perform the procedure. “We have a track-record of performing these procedures successfully and this new state-of-the-art technology further improves the safety and efficiency of the procedure. This technology is not available at any other hospital nearby.”

Santa Rosa Memorial performs over 200 A-Fib ablations annually and 75% of these are treated with cryoablation.  According to Boston Scientific, who manufactures the technology, studies showed 80% of patients experienced freedom of atrial arrhythmia within 12 months following the procedure. 

“Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is on the rise, and such safe, effective therapies allow physicians to treat more patients, reduce complications, and personalize treatment,” said Director of Nursing for Cardiovascular Services, Wendy Dunnagan. “The POLARx system was FDA approved on August 8, 2023. We are proud to offer our community members the most advanced cryoablation technology on the market to these patients.”

During the minimally invasive procedure, which is performed in our electrophysiology lab, electrophysiologists/cardiologists place a balloon catheter that delivers cryotherapy at the opening of the pulmonary veins. They freeze the targeted tissue, which creates small scars that block the irregular electrical signals that cause arrhythmia. The procedure is completed within approximately two hours.

According to Dr. Chang-Sing, the catheter has two balloon sizes (28 and 31mm), that can be utilized within the same balloon. It also helps achieve more complete tissue contact to better deliver treatment to areas of the heart where disruptive signals that cause AF originate.

Click here to learn more about Memorial’s award-winning Heart and Vascular Institute.

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About Providence Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital  
Providence, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital is a nonprofit, full-service, 338-bed health care facility. Services include cancer, cardiac, critical care, emergency/a level II trauma center, maternity and infant care; neurosciences; orthopaedics; pediatrics, the neonatal intensive care nursery, and more. The hospital works collaboratively with other hospitals within Providence, as well as numerous outpatient facilities, affiliated physicians, home and community care, and Providence Medical Group providers, to ensure patients receive the highest level of care, close to home. For more information, visit 

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