In January 2019, Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) Electrophysiologists performed the first procedure to implant the state-of-the-art Watchman Device in qualifying patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib). Nearly a year and a half later, 70 Watchman Device procedures have been performed at PMC, putting the medical center in the top 30 percent of hospitals in the entire midwest that perform the procedure.

PMC Electrophysiologists Michael Antimisiaris, MD, and Chase Reynolds, MD, treat patients who are experiencing various heart rhythm conditions. Skipped beats, a thumping feeling, fluttering or even the feeling of not being able to catch your breath can be signs a heart rhythm condition known as AFib.

“Patients with AFib are at a significantly increased risk of stroke due to clot formation within the heart,” explained Dr. Reynolds. “Over 90 percent of those clots form within the left atrial appendage. By implanting the Watchman Device in patients who qualify, we essentially seal or put a lid over the left atrial appendage, ultimately reducing the risk of a stroke.”

An estimated 2.7 – 6.1 million Americans have AFib, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many patients can be treated for AFib by regularly taking blood-thinning medications. However, some patients are at a higher risk for bleeding, making them potential candidates for the Watchman Device.

Pikeville Medical Center is one of five hospitals in Kentucky to implant the Watchman Device. PMC was hand-picked to be able to perform the procedure in January 2019 and was approved by Boston Scientific.

For more information visit our PMC Heart and Vascular Institute pages.