Mon Health is first in state to trial new device to help with heart problem known as AFib

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Mon Health has become the first and only hospital in West Virginia to run a trial for a new device that helps people with atrial fibrillation (AFib).

AFib is an irregular and rapid heartbeat that can lead to several problems, most notably a stroke. Dr. Wissam Gharib, an interventional cardiologist at Mon Health, was the first doctor in the state to implant the WATCHMAN device in West Virginia, now he is helping run the first trial in the state for the new version called the WATCHMAN FLX which is made by Boston Scientific.

Gharib said the trial is expected to last for about for a year to a year and a half and that they are willing to take as many patients as possible. The ramifications of the device are extensive for the people of West Virginia he said. Right now many people take blood thinner to help combat AFib, however, if the trial proves successful they could switch people to the device.

“The significance of a WATCHMAN device replacing blood thinner is really huge,” Gharib said. “If you have ever taken blood thinner, if you’ve ever had a family member that’s taken blood thinner it’s very difficult anytime if you have to get your teeth cleaned, anytime you have to have any minor surgery, it’s a big deal coming off of blood thinner and going back on blood thinner. If this device proves to be successful we can get a lot of these patients off long term blood thinner and long term coagulation.”

Gharib said it means a lot for the people of West Virginia to have the opportunity to be one of the firsts in the nation to have access to the trial. He said it was continuing recognition of the service that Mon Health provides, they recently received accreditation from the American College of Cardiology for their AFib center.

“What it means is we’ve been recognized as a center of excellence for AFib so there are multiple treatments for multiple diseases,” Gharib said. “And what we’ve taken is–we’ve taken every disease that we treat and we want to offer care that’s second to none, so with AFib, we’re offering care that’s second to none. To be recognized nationally as an afib accredited center is a big deal for our patients here in West Virginia.”

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