Mon Health becomes first in the state to earn AFib accreditation

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va- Mon Health Medical center has become the first hospital in the state to receive an AFib accreditation from the American College of Cardiology (ACC).

Atrial Fibrillation, commonly known as AFib, is a very common heart disease that causes rapid heart rates as a result of irregular blood flow in the upper chamber of the heart.

This is according to Dr. Robert Hull the director of electrophysiology at Mon Health. Hull said West Virginia is normally ranked at or near the top when it comes to rates of AFib per capita.

He continued to explain that the disease mostly affects the elderly, that one in 10 people over the age of 80 has it. However, young people can also be affected. If not treated, Hull said, AFib can lead to a stroke.

“That’s really how afib could shorten or ruin your life but poorly controlled AFib could also, in other cases, induce a form of heart failure,” Hull explained. “It can cause symptoms that really rob you of quality of life. If you have that, the symptom of your heart racing in your chest creates tremendous anxiety. So part of what we have to first do is help patients understand what it means and what it doesn’t mean so that you can live with it without the added worry and anxiety and develop a strategy to try and minimize those symptoms.”

Hull said, in part, the ACC accreditation was just a title but really it is a recognition of the fact that they have established a rigorous process that looks at standardizing how physicians look at and treat AFib.

People may require medication in a certain phase, occasionally they require procedures, rarely somebody may recommend surgery for atrial fibrillation, regardless he said they had built a team of doctors, nurses and EMS crews that could take care of every patient’s needs. He said the goal is to provide a comprehensive service in-home or in the hospital.

“What we want to do is provide that care throughout that spectrum but we also want to address factors that get overlooked that are very important for your AFib and your health,” Hull said. “Meaning weight reduction is critical when you’re talking about recurrences of AFib, that’s a very intensive conversation, sometimes it gets neglected by all of us as healthcare providers but we’re going to help develop a team that helps address that.”

Hull said they will focus on conditioning and exercise, however, he said even though that was very important people can rarely sustain that on their own. That is why he said they have developed a team to help keep patients motivated and to help them stick with exercise regiments.

“Whether you go to one of our system emergency rooms, whether it requires coming into the hospital, we want patients to know that they’re connected for life with that,” he said. “And that whether you go through our emergency room or our hospital, we’ve developed an individualized plan that helps take care of you and keep you on the track of that plan.”

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