MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Mon Health Heart and Vascular celebrates that they have successfully completed their 500th WATCHMAN procedure treating patients with Atrial Fibrillation as of Wednesday.

Mon Health officials said atrial fibrillation is a cardiovascular disease that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood normally. The procedure involved minimally invasive, and most patients can go home the same day. A surprise ceremony was held for the hospital physicians to celebrate the milestone.

Hospital officials also said those physicians have been instrumental in improving the lives of those 500 patients treated with the WATCHMAN implant.

“I think if a patient has Atrial Fibrillation, is having a hard time taking their medication because of bleeding, or frailty, or they’re having unsteady gate then they should come to see us. If they have no issues and they’re able to take their medications, but they don’t want to be on medication, we’re involved in trials that may give them a chance to get off the medication,” said Wissam Gharib, Intervention for Cardiology, Structural Heart Director. “We’re currently doing the champion trial. We just finished our option trial where patients that can tolerate medicines can get into the study. Half of them will continue to stay on the drug they’re on, the other half will give the Watchman.”

The Food and Drug Administration approved the Boston Scientific WATCHMAN device which reduces the risk of stroke by addressing the issue and eliminating the need for long-term blood thinners.

“It’s really monumental, I mean the Watchman program here, we have the physicians that placed the first ones in the state that are practicing here now. They’ve had a long history of treating these patients allowing them to have these devices put in, and that thus taking them off blood thinners. So, you reduce the complication rates when elderly people have falls are in accidents, those sorts of things, they’re not on these blood thinners, and it really improves the quality of peoples lives,” said Bradford Warden, Chief Executive Officer for Mon Health Heart and Vascular.

Mon Health is the only Atrial Fibrillation Certified hospital in the state. They are also the 26th Center of Excellence for General Cardiovascular Care and they said they’re proud of that.