February 1, 2019

CAMC is home to one of the top heart centers in the nation, performing thousands of diagnostic exams, open heart surgeries, catheterizations and electrophysiology and interventional cardiology procedures each year by a team with more than 900 years of combined experience. CAMC’s heart specialists are at the forefront of the latest heart and vascular treatments, along with groundbreaking research studies, which bring new options – and hope – for patients in West Virginia.


AFib is a common irregular heart rhythm that can allow blood clots to form in the heart, especially in the left atrial appendage (LAA), which is the pouch attached to the left upper chamber of the heart. As a result, people with AFib are five to seven times more likely to have a stroke than the general population.

The most common treatment to reduce stroke risk in patients with AFib is the blood-thinning medication, Warfarin. Despite its effectiveness, long-term anticoagulation therapy carries a significant risk for bleeding complications and is not well-tolerated by some patients.

The Watchman implant, which is about the size of a quarter, is placed in the heart through a catheter (through a vein in the leg). It is designed to close off the LAA to keep harmful blood clots from entering the bloodstream and potentially causing a stroke. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients might be able to stop taking Warfarin anticoagulation therapy.


Mitral regurgitation is a debilitating, progressive disease where a leaky mitral valve causes a backward flow of blood in the heart. Some mitral regurgitation patients who cannot have open-heart surgery due to other health complications may be candidates for MitraClip, which is a device that cardiac specialists use to perform a procedure called percutaneous (using a needle instead of open surgery) mitral valve repair.

The MitraClip device is guided through a catheter in the leg to the heart where it “clips” the leaky portion of the valve to eliminate the backflow of blood and restore normal blood flow through the heart. This procedure has been shown to greatly decrease the risk of heart failure, improve overall quality of life and reduce mitral regurgitation.

Learn more about CAMC's cardiac services at camc.org/Heart.


Aortic stenosis, or calcium buildup on the aortic valve, is one of the most common valvular heart diseases affecting patients over 60. The condition prevents the aortic valve from opening and closing properly, which puts an increased amount of stress and pressure on the heart. This can lead to shortness of breath, fatigue, chronic heart failure and even death, if left untreated.

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is a treatment option that enables some patients to receive a new heart valve without undergoing open heart surgery by implanting a new valve in the heart through a small catheter, usually inserted through the femoral artery of the leg. Once placed in the heart, the new valve helps improve blood flow.

TAVR offers many benefits over conventional open heart surgery, including less pain, shorter procedure time, shorter recovery time and fewer risks. CAMC has performed more than 200 TAVR procedures since 2013.

Leadless pacemakers

In April 2017, CAMC implanted the first leadless pacemaker in West Virginia – an innovative technology that can eliminate potential complications of traditional pacemakers and allow patients to avoid major surgery for implantation.

Approved by the FDA in 2016, the new leadless pacemaker is implanted directly in the heart. The implant is much smaller than traditional pacemakers – about the size of a multivitamin. Instead of wires, the pacemaker attaches to the heart muscle using small fins that emit the electrical signal required to make the heart pump.

As opposed to placing the battery and wires in the chest wall through an incision, the surgery to implant the leadless pacemaker involves running a catheter up the femoral artery in the leg. This means there is no major surgery, or any scar or bump as a result of the implant. It is completely self-contained within the heart, which eliminates potential for complications and improves recovery time for the patient.

The leading edge of heart disease

CAMC stays on the leading edge of heart disease through research, education and technology. The hospital is actively involved in clinical trials related to structural or vascular disease, which is an important step in discovering new treatments and ways to reduce the risk of the disease. Plus, the hospital’s team of highly-trained specialists in cardiology, cardiac surgery, cardiovascular imaging and cardiac anesthesia are constantly advancing the fast-evolving field of interventional cardiology.

CAMC’s team of cardiovascular experts, advanced technology and innovative treatment options ensure that patients have access to the best care in their community.

Check out our newest commercial: CAMC Cardiac Services

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