Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 11

Hospital staff ran the results by Salina
cardiologist Mark Mikinski, M.D.,
who diagnosed Hobbs with atrial
fibrillation (AFib), a common heart
rhythm disorder.  
At Salina, Hobbs had surgery to
implant a defibrillator performed by
Mikinski. The cardiologist told Hobbs
that he would be a good candidate
for the Watchman, a new procedure
that reduces the need for anticoagulation medication. 

AFib Diagnosis
Most people who have been diagnosed
with atrial fibrillation are prescribed anticoagulation medication to reduce the risk
of stroke. Those with AFib are known
to have a 5 times greater risk for stroke
than those with normal heart rhythms.
The risk arises from the heart's
irregular beat, which can allow blood to
pool and form clots in the heart. These
clots can then enter the bloodstream
and travel to the brain, causing a stroke.
Prescription blood thinners have been
the traditional approach to keeping
these clots from forming.
A significant number of people have
adverse outcomes from being on blood
thinners such as Coumadin, including
internal bleeding. Others struggle to
take their blood thinners properly or
maintain therapeutic levels in their
system, which provides ineffective protection from stroke.

The Watchman Procedure
Nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a common heart rhythm disorder that makes patients five times more likely to have a stroke. To
reduce this risk, patients are typically prescribed a blood thinner,
which can cause internal bleeding and other long-term side effects.
Thanks to an innovative procedure performed at Salina Regional
Health Center, more than 150 patients are now enjoying life free of
blood thinners. The Watchman procedure-a minimally invasive
heart catheterization procedure-is proven to be as effective as
blood thinners in preventing stroke for patients with AFib, but without the harmful side effects.
Salina Regional Health Center was one of the first hospitals in the
state to perform this procedure and continues to be a leader in the
number of implant procedures performed.
For a full list of services offered at Salina Regional Health Center,

Daniel Hobbs,
with cardiac cath
lab nurse Melanie
McDuffee, RN.

Painless Recovery

About a year after Hobbs' initial diagnosis, Salina cardiologist Maria Baldasare,
M.D., performed the Watchman procedure. The heart catheterization procedure, done through the femoral vein, is
similar to the way stents and balloons
are used to open blocked arteries. Once
implanted, the device covers the left
atrial appendage-within about six
weeks, the body forms a tissue lining
over the device to permanently close
the appendage. 
"It was easy and the recovery was
painless," Hobbs says. 
Because of the procedure, Hobbs no
longer has to take Coumadin daily. 
"I work on a farm and I'm always
outside tinkering and cutting myself,

which used to make me bleed a lot,"
Hobbs says. "Now that I am off the
Coumadin, I don't have to worry about
that. And I no longer have to have
regular blood checks to monitor my levels anymore." 
Hobbs is grateful that his AFib was
diagnosed and treated and that the
Watchman procedure was successful.

More than that, he is thankful that he
was able to finish building the gazebo
for his daughter's wedding, and that
he was there to see her marry the man
of her dreams. Today the gazebo sits
proudly at his daughter and son-inlaw's house and is a constant reminder
of the strong bond between a father
and daughter. 1

FIND out more about Salina Regional's cardiac services at


Health Beat - Winter 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Health Beat - Winter 2020

Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 1
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