Batesville Man Enjoying Life (& Turnip Greens) after Heart Device
Cecil Wages of Batesville with cardiac electrophysiologist Jim Stone, M.D.
TUPELO, Miss.—Cecil Wages of Batesville was skeptical about the Watchman device that cardiac electrophysiologist Dr. Jim Stone recommended after hospitalization earlier this year for abdominal bleeding. “I’m not putting nothing in my heart,” Wages said about the treatment option. “I was very leery.”
Wages, who will turn 81 next month, suffers from atrial fibrillation, a heart condition in which the upper chambers of the heart beat too fast. Because the heart’s upper chambers quiver instead of beating effectively, blood can stagnate and form clots in an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage. If a clot forms there, it can break loose and cause a stroke. Wages suffered two strokes in 2008 and another in 2009.
For years, the best treatment to prevent stoke in A-fib patients was Coumadin, a drug that thins the blood and prevents clots. While very effective, Coumadin can have dietary restrictions, drug interactions, excessive bruising and, in rare cases, serious or even life-threatening bleeding. While taking Coumadin, Wages had his blood checked monthly and was very careful of what he ate because certain foods are high in Vitamin K, which can interfere with the drug. “I hadn’t had turnip greens or anything else green in three or four years,” he said.
The Watchman left atrial occlusion device has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since March 2015. Dr. Stone explained to Wages that the device serves as a plug, sealing the left atrial appendage to keep larger blood clots from entering the bloodstream. During the procedure, Dr. Stone guides the Watchman device into the heart through a catheter, or flexible tube inserted through a vein in the groin. After placing the device, he releases it from the catheter to leave it permanently implanted in the heart. The procedure takes less than an hour in NMMC’s Electrophysiology Laboratory.
This summer Wages decided to go ahead with the procedure. He stayed overnight at NMMC, left with only a bandage on his groin and recovered quickly. In no time the Methodist minister of 45 years was back to the church he pastors in Webb, as well as playing golf, doing yardwork and traveling with his wife, Kay. “I’m enjoying eating turnip greens again, too,” he adds.
For more information about this and other services offered through NMMC’s Heart and Vascular Institute, visit www.nmhs.net/heart-vascular.