PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) – A human’s heart relies on electrical impulses to know when to contract and pump blood to the rest of your body. When Paul Burchett visited his doctor about eight years ago, he discovered his heart was beating too quickly and irregularly.
“They tried about two to three medications to regulate my heartbeat,” Burchett said. ” My situation was I was going out of rhythm for short periods and some for multiple days.”
Burchett was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation, or AFib. A major concern of AFib is that it can form blood clots in the heart that can travel and cause strokes or block flow to other vital organs.
“About 20 percent to 40 percent of strokes in those over 75 years later may be related to atrial fibrillation. It’s preventable, and if you can detect the disease early and treat the patient with blood thinners, you can reduce the chance of them getting a stroke,” said Dr. Michael Antimisiaris, an electrophysiologist at Pikeville Medical Center.
Pikeville Medical Center is using the Watchman device to help patients who can’t use blood thinners because of bleeding risk.
The Watchman device is about the size of a quarter and fits into your heart to keep blood clots from escaping.
“By putting this mechanical device, which is an outpatient procedure, inserted into the vein of the groin into the heart — and takes about an hour to put it in — we can get those patients off blood thinners,” Dr. Antimisiaris said.
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