Baptist Health first in southeast U.S. to implant new device for treating people with atrial fibrillation

Baptist Heart Specialists lead the way with first use in region following FDA approval.

Jacksonville, FL

Baptist Health is once again leading the region in the treatment of atrial fibrillation (Afib) as it becomes the first health system in the southeast United States to use a new device following its approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ruby Satpathy, MD, FACC, FSCAI, internationally recognized interventional cardiologist with Baptist Heart Specialists and medical director of the Baptist Structural Heart Program, performed the procedure.

The device, Amplatzer™ Amulet™ Left Atrial Appendage Occluder, is designed to treat patients with Afib (irregular heartbeats) who are unable to tolerate blood thinners to reduce risk of stroke. The left atrial appendage (LAA) is a small pouch connected to the upper left chamber of the heart. For people with Afib, it is an area where blood clots can form. If those blood clots reach the bloodstream, they can travel to the brain and cause a stroke.  Following the successful completion of clinical trials in the US, the FDA approved the device, which seals the LAA so clots cannot form in this area.

Dr. Satpathy implanted the LAA closure device in Douglas Dixon, 75, from Green Cove Springs, Florida. During routine monitoring of his pacemaker, Aaditya Vora, MD, clinical cardiac electrophysiologist, Baptist Heart Specialists, discovered Dixon had experienced an Afib event, though he did not know it. Having had a brain bleed two years prior, dependence on blood thinners was not a good solution for Dixon. Hence, the referral of Dixon to Dr. Satpathy.

"Mr. Dixon was a good candidate for this new device because of his prior brain bleed," said Dr. Satpathy. "The treatment option opens the door for many more patients who cannot be on blood thinners for even a short period. It also allows the LAA closure for different shapes and sizes."

Baptist Heart Specialists is committed to research, education and innovation, using new devices and procedures to help patients with structural heart diseases extend and improve the quality of their lives.

Dr. Satpathy and the Baptist Heart Hospital team recently completed a successful live case device implantation to thousands of physicians attending the annual Cardiovascular Research Technologies (CRT) conference. The conference, held in Washington, DC, is a leading educational forum on new cardiovascular technology and procedures for physicians and health care professionals.

The team is also actively engaged in research through involvement in clinical trials. For the newly-FDA approved LAA closure device, Baptist Health was the No.1 enroller in the state of Florida and No. 4 in the nation. Dr. Satpathy and Carlos Zamora, MD, FACC, served as lead clinical investigators at Baptist Health.

Many of the new treatment options offered at Baptist Health would not otherwise be available in north Florida or southeast Georgia. To learn more, visit