b'N ENTIO V PRE LLNESS &WELeft: Donna Carroll, RN, Nurse Practitioner,Atrial Fibrilation Clinic, examines a patient.He and his team are lifesavers. AFib is the most cardio and strength exercise, Dr. Allred says. common of erratic heartbeats, raising stroke risk five- The clinic has partnered with the YMCA to offer classes fold and doubling the risk of heart-related deaths. specifically for its patients, with a nurse on site. Patients Strokes linked to AFib carry a higher mortality work to trim fat while developing a heart-healthy diet with and morbidity rate than strokes from otherthe advice of dietitians. causes, Dr. Allred says. Our job is to follow patients heart rates closely so they Although many sense fluttering or skippedcan lead long, active, productive lives, says Dr. Allred.beats, others dont. They may just feel tired We want to take away the fear and power this chronic for a couple of days, Dr. Allred says.disease can hold over patients.Some learn they have AFib from an AppleThe Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital, where the AFib Watch or while being prescreened for surgery clinic is based, is the only hospital in North Carolina to hold or a colonoscopy via electrocardiograms.full certification in AFib from the Society of Cardiovascular For others, the first sign of AFib may be aPatient Care. At Cone Health, anyone deemed high risk stroke, adds Dr. Allred. You should always consultcan be closely observed via cardiac monitors. These your doctor immediately if you have any concerns ormini-recordersone-third the size of an AAA battery symptoms that may be related to your heart. AFib is a are inserted beneath the surface of the chest, allowing progressive disease. Intervention can prevent it your doctor to detect any arrhythmias remotely and from becoming permanent. unobtrusively 24/7 for up to four years. Another high-tech device is the KardiaMobile, a portable personal EKG that pairs with an app on smart devices to If your family tree includes relatives whove had clogged WATCHMAN FLX:alert patient and doctor to arrhythmias.Recently, I had a patient whod been hospitalized with AN ALTERNATIVE TO BLOOD THINNERS very symptomatic AFib, Dr. Allred says. He had a family arteries or heart attacks as early as their 40s, you needtrip to Disney World scheduled and, thanks to his Apple to be screened early. Most people should have their totalThree million Americans have AFib (atrialWatch, I was able to know he was AFib-free. We did a cholesterol checked using a fasting blood test starting atfibrillation)irregular heartbeats that raisevirtual visit from Epcot.age 20, according to current guidelines of the AmericanOur job is to follow patientstheir stroke risk. But not everyone can takeA few weeks later, the patient had catheter ablation,College of Cardiology and American Heartheart rates closely so they canthe common treatment of blood thinners,a minimally invasive outpatient surgery that uses heat Association. Those who are obese, have Type 2 diabeteswhich can lead to excess bleeding. to modify electrical tissue that triggers AFib. Dr. Allreds or a strong family history of early-onset high cholesterollead long, active, productiveNow theres an alternative: WATCHMANstudies showed the procedures success and that same-day should consider earlier lipid testing.lives. We want to take away theFLX. Cone Health is among the statesdischarge is safe for most patients. He also can implant a Finding treatment for complex heart conditions can befew medical centers to offer this smallWATCHMAN FLX device (see sidebar) in those unable to overwhelming, but Cone Health makes the process simpler.fear and power this chronicmechanical apparatus, which is insertedtake blood thinners. Those referred for high cholesterol often have otherdisease can hold over patients. through a small tube in the femoral vein intoEarly detection is vital, Dr. Allred says. By intervening cardiovascular disease risks, says Dr. Hilty. We have athe left atrial appendage of the heart. Thatsearly with lifestyle changes and catheter ablation,one-stop shop of heart specialists.JAMES D. ALLRED, MD where 90% of blood clots formclots thatpatients can avoid repeat AFib and live longer and more can cause strokes. The one-time implant of afully. Our goal is to keep you active and at home, not inATRIAL FIBRILLATION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WATCHMAN FLX device seals off the portionthe hospital. More than muscle, blood and valves are vital to heartCone Healths AFib Center has a multifaceted approachof the heart where most blood clots form in function. The hearts electrical cells send steady signalsand a team of heart-rhythm specialists, including doctors,patients with underlying atrial fibrillation. to the hearts atria, or upper chambers, causing them tonurses, dietitians and pharmacists. Were your VIPWith a successful WATCHMAN implant, contract and push out blood. When the beat goes badly, service, with a direct line to experts from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.patients can discontinue blood-thinningTo refer a patient, please call us:you may have atrial fibrillation, or AFib. Its like a short weekdays, Dr. Allred says.medication within approximately six weeks ofAtrial Fibrillation Centerin the hearts wiring that sparks an irregular heartbeat. High blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and sleep apneathe procedure, says Michael D. Cooper, MD,and Watchman: 336-832-7033That may cause blood to pool in the atria and clots often accompany AFib. AFib patients often are afraid an interventional cardiologist at Cone Health. Advanced Lipid Disorders and Cardiovascularto form, says Dr. Allred.to exercise, but the best treatment is weight loss and Risk Reduction Clinic: 336-938-080032 / CONE HEALTH HEART & VASCULAR / 33'