SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Baystate Medical Center is now offering cardiac patients a new and safer way of treating A-Fib.

Baystate Medical Center is now performing a cardiac procedure with only mild sedation, allowing patients to avoid the health risks that come from general anesthesia while having a shorter and less expensive hospital stay.

The procedure is offered to patients with A Fib, which is an abnormal heart rhythm that affects up to 25% of Americans at some point in their lives. Many A-Fib patients are at risk of stroke from blood clots, this procedure uses a catheter that goes in through the femoral vein to put a plug in the pocket of the heart were these blood clots form. Historically, this procedure was done under heavy sedation. Now smaller devices are changing the way it can be done.

Dr. Andrew Goldsweig, Director at the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, tells 22News, “So the catheter is so small, that just local numbing medication and maybe a little bit of sedation to take off the edge is enough to bring that catheter up to the heart, generate all the images in high fidelity that we need and place the device.”

The device comes in 13 different sizes. Tony Odierna of Longmeadow was one of the first to have the procedure. He said he had no concerns about being awake during the procedure. “I ran it by several other cardiologists, just to second, third opinions and I felt nothing, and I feel great now, everything worked, they say I’m great and I hope I last for another 100 years.”

After the procedure, Odierna was able to go home. Baystate Medical Center is the only hospital in the region that offers this minimally invasive procedure. It’s been performed about 50 times in the 6 months that it’s been available.

“Nobody wants general anesthesia,” Dr. Goldsweig adds. “It’s uncomfortable, time consuming and it does entail some risks. if people have the opportunity to breath on their own throughout the entire procedure, have nothing put in their mouth, whether it be in their lungs or in their esophagus, people are always have for that.”

The doctor said this procedure is now a routine offering for those who need it.

Local News

Alanna Flood is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Alanna on X @alannafloodnews and view her bio to see more of her work.