The Banner Wyoming Medical Center became the first hospital in the state to provide WATCHMAN heart implant devices.

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Mitchell Salloum, 74, of Casper, who underwent the procedure on Jan. 13, said:

"I never had any second thought," Salloum said. "I feel great. I had it done on a Thursday and went back to work on Monday."

Banner Wyoming Medical Center
Banner Wyoming Medical Center

According to a press release from the Wyoming Medical Center, atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is the most common heart rhythm disturbance and increases stroke risk five times on average, affecting 33 million people worldwide in 2013.

Usually, this issue would be solved with the use of blood thinners, but due to some people's risk of injury, that medication might not be an option.

In those cases, the WATCHMAN procedure helps to alleviate the risk of stroke without the use of blood thinners.

The device implemented through the procedure is designed to close an appendage in the heart to reduce the risk of stroke for AFib patients.

Adrian Fluture, medical director of cardiovascular services at the Wyoming Medical Center and the interventional cardiologist who performed the procedure, said:

"A number of cases have already been done, this is just the beginning of it," Fluture said. "There are more to come. We're hoping to help our population to the best we can. Both doctor Engleking and myself were both very grateful towards the people that have helped us in training and bringing this expertise, but also to Wyoming Medical Center and Banner for making this happen."

Fluture said that he and Dr. Kerry Engelking first trained on the procedure in 2019, but because of COVID-19, they didn't start doing the procedure until this year and both had to retrain on the procedure.

Since doing the initial WATCHMAN procedure on Jan. 13, they've done two more procedures and have even developed somewhat of a waiting list due to more people wanting to do the procedure.

Fluture said across the 10 different areas in the state the Wyoming Medical Center serves, there are around 300 people that could benefit from the procedure.

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