CAMC offers less invasive treatment for cardiac conditions

March 10, 2019
CAMC Teays Valley Hospital's areas of focus include emergency care, intensive care, telemetry and medical/surgical.

CHARLESTON — 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. CAMC’s heart specialists offer the latest heart and vascular treatments, along with groundbreaking research studies, which brings 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. People with AFib are five to seven times more likely to have a stroke than the general population.

The blood-thinning medication Warfarin is most commonly used to reduce stroke risk in patients with AFib. Despite its effectiveness, long-term anticoagulation therapy carries a significant risk for bleeding complications.

The Watchman implant, which is about the size of a quarter, is placed in the heart through a catheter. 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.


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 openheart surgery due to other health complications may be candidates for Mitra-Clip. It allows specialists 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.


Aortic stenosis, or calcium buildup on the aortic valve, is one of the most common valvular heart diseases affecting patients older than 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) 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 a leadless pacemaker – 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 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. 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 the potential for complications and improves recovery time for the patient.


ADDRESS OF MAIN CAMPUS: 1400 Hospital Drive, Hurricane WV

PHONE NUMBER: 304-757-1700

WEBSITE: www.camc.org



MEDICAL AREAS OF FOCUS: Emergency, intensive care, telemetry and medical/surgical




HOMETOWN: Hurricane, W.Va.

JOB: Physician, CAMC Primary Care - Nitro

HOW DID YOU GET INTO YOUR CAREER?: “I was fascinated with the science early on and loved the idea of helping people.”

FIRST JOB: Kroger courtesy clerk

FAMILY: wife, Kathi Robie; and two kids, Quinn and Grace.