Two patients receive only FDA approved heart implants in U.S.

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 12:35 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Two heart patients at Overland Park Regional Medical Center and Research Medical Center received the only FDA approved heart implants.

HCA Midwest Health says two patients at Overland Park Regional Medical Center and Research Medical Center have received the only FDA-approved device for reducing the risk of stroke in people with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.

HCA Midwest says it is the region’s leading healthcare provider and the first in the region to perform procedures using the next-generation permanent heart implants.

The healthcare provider says Dhanunjaya “DJ” Lakkireddy, M.D., is a board-certified, fellowship-trained cardiologist, researcher and renowned leader in electrophysiology research at Overland Park Regional Medical Center. It says on Aug. 5, Dr. Lakkireddy performed a procedure of the catheter-based, or non surgically implanted one of the devices.

HCA Midwest Health Care says Dr. Lakkireddy is also the medical director of the Kansas City Heart Rhythm Institute at HCA Midwest Health and is an internationally known education leader in atrial fibrillation and complex arrhythmias.

According to the healthcare provider, on Aug. 6, Rakesh Gopinathannair M.D., performed an identical procedure at the Research Medical Center. It says Dr. Goppinathannair is also a board-certified,fellowship-trained clinical cardiac electrophysiologist.

HCA Midwest says the Watchman FLX is a next-generation Watchman, offering an alternative to lifelong use of blood thinner for people with atrial fibrillation that is not caused by a heart problem. It says up to 6 million Americans are estimated to have AF, which is an irregular heartbeat feeling like a quivering heart and is the most common cardiac arrhythmia.

According to HCA Midwest, people with AF have a five times greater risk of stroke than people with normal heart rhythms,. It says AF-related strokes are the most common complication AF and are more often fatal and disabling.

HCA Midwest says the most common treatment to reduce stroke risk in patients is using blood-thinning medication such as warfarin. It says that while this may be effective at reducing risk of stroke, blood thinners also increase the risk of serious bleeding over time and come with certain requirements and restrictions.

According to the health care provider, the implant closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage, or LAA, keeping harmful blood clots from forming in the LAA and entering the bloodstream, potentially causing a stroke. It says by closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke may be reduced, and eventually may be able to stop taking their blood thinner. It says the new technology has a new design to help treat patients more safely and effectively to ensure the best possible long term outcomes.

“The device serves as a safe and effective stroke risk reduction alternative for patients with non-valvular AF, especially those with a compelling reason not to be on blood thinners,” Dr. Lakkireddy says. “It is an honor to be the first in the Kansas City Region to perform the implant of this device on two patients. HCA Midwest Health is an innovator in heart care and this technology not only offers patients a potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment, it provides reduced healing time and allow us to treat a broader range of patients going forward.”

“Overland Park Regional Medical Center, known for its excellence in heart and stroke care, is proud to be a leader in using this device that gives heart patients with these conditions new options and hope,” says Overland Park Regional Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Matt Sogard. “HCA Midwest Health gives patients and their families access to more coordinated and robust world-class cardiac services across the continuum of care.”

HCA Midwest says Mr. Smith, a 70-year-old male with a history of AF, had not had success with medication for the management of his AF and, thereby experiencing complications such as stroke and hypertension. It says after having two AF ablation procedures with little success, he was an ideal candidate for the new device.

“Providing patients access to the right care at the right time and right place is integral to cardiovascular healthcare,” Dr. Lakkireddy says. “HCA Midwest Health offers patients and their families excellent care and unprecedented access through its emergency departments, cardiology practices, urgent care system and primary care physicians. The addition of this revolutionary device is the kind of healthcare patients want and need, so it’s an honor and privilege to be part of this groundbreaking procedure in Kansas City.”

HCA Midwest says over 100,000 patients have received the permanent implant internationally in a one-time procedure performed under general anesthesia and takes about only an hour. It says the permanent device doesn’t have to be replaced and cannot be seen from outside the body. It says patients commonly stay in the hospital overnight and leave the next day.

To learn more about HCA Midwest Health visit its website.

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