Baptist Health recently broke new ground in the treatment of atrial fibrillation (Afib) by becoming the first healthcare system in the southeastern United States to use a new device following its approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). United.
Ruby Satpathy, MD, an internationally renowned interventional cardiologist with Baptist Heart Specialists and medical director of the Baptist Structural Heart Program, performed the procedure.
The device, Amplatzer Amulet Left Atrial Appendage Occluder, is designed to treat patients with atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) who cannot tolerate blood thinners to reduce the risk of stroke.
The left atrial appendage (LAA) is a small pouch connected to the upper left chamber of the heart. For people with atrial fibrillation, this is an area where blood clots can form. If these blood clots reach the bloodstream, they can travel to the brain and cause a stroke.
Following successful clinical trials in the United States, the FDA approved the device, which seals the LAA so that clots cannot form in this area.
Satpathy implanted the device in Douglas Dixon, 75, of Green Cove Springs. During routine monitoring of his pacemaker, Aaditya Vora, MD, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiologist, Baptist Heart Specialists, discovered that Dixon had suffered an Afib event, although he was unaware of it.
Having suffered a brain bleed two years prior, addiction to blood thinners was not a good fit for Dixon. Hence Dixon’s dismissal at Satpathy.
“Mr. Dixon was a good candidate for this new device because of his previous brain hemorrhage,” Satpathy said. “The treatment option opens the door to many more patients who cannot take blood thinners, even for a short time.It also allows LAA closure for different shapes and sizes.