New cardiac procedure available at FWBMC

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Staff reports

FORT WALTON BEACH — Fort Walton Beach Medical Center’s Heart Center recently introduced a new minimally invasive technique for the treatment of patients with atrial fibrillation, an irregular and often rapid hertbeat.

Patients with atrial fibrillation routinely are treated with anticoagulants to prevent the formation of blood clots. However, patients who may not be able to take anticoagulants can have the newly available left atrial apendage procedure to avoid the potential of experiencing a stroke. The left atrial appendage is a small cavity connected to the left atrium, one of the chambers of the heart. 

The left atrial appendage procedure reduces incision size, and eliminates the need for a sternal incision — a long incision along the center of the chest.

According to a news release from FWBMC, the newly available procedure also uses a mini-thoracotomy approach, where an incision is made between ribs and no bones are broken. This allows less invasive surgery to remove the left atrial appendage. 

“Our cardiovascular physicians have pioneered some of the latest cardiac technology and procedures available in the area for cardiac care,” Mitch Mongell, CEO of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, said in the hospital’s news release. Mongell went on in the news release to note the hospital’s status as the only accredited Chest Pain Center in the area, and its state-of-the-art cath labs.

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is a 257-bed full-service hospital, recognized as a Top General Hospital for excellence in quality care and patient safety. It is the only acute care hospital in the tri-county area that offers open heart surgery, an accredited Advanced Primary Stroke Center and a Cancer Care Center accredited by the Commission on Cancer.

FWBMC’s emergency services include a dedicated pediatric ER and a full-service ER that includes the only Level II Trauma Center in the tri-county area.

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