Portneuf Heart and Vascular Team Completes 100th Watchman

Pocatello, ID — Portneuf Medical Center’s heart and vascular team took a moment this week to recognize cardiologist and electrophysiologist, Lynn Otto, MD, for being on the team that just completed their 100th procedure to implant a Watchman device. This tiny device helps prevent stroke in certain patients with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib).

“Reaching the 100th case is a significant moment for this whole team,” said Dr. Otto. “This is truly a collaborative effort in which many individuals and specialties come together to ensure a safe and successful implant for our patients.”

The Watchman device is an alternative to the lifelong use of blood thinners in people with Afib. The Watchman is placed in the heart using a minimally invasive procedure under general anesthesia. The procedure is done in the cardiac Cath lab and takes about an hour. In the weeks and months that follow, heart tissue grows around the device, securing it in place. It is a permanent solution that does not require replacement.

“The 100th patient was a lady in her mid-60s. She was at a high risk for a blood clot and a stroke from atrial fibrillation, she also had a small bleed in her brain.” Dr. Otto said. “Before the Watchman, she would have had to weigh the lessor of two risks, an increased risk for stroke or an increased chance for a brain bleed.”

Atrial fibrillation is one of the most common type of heart arrhythmia and affects more than six million Americans. An arrhythmia is when the heart beat is irregular. Some patients experience a feeling like fluttering in their chest, lightheadedness, fatigue, shortness of breath of even chest pain. Twenty percent of all strokes occur in patients with Afib. The common treatment to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with fib is blood thinning medications.

“After over 100 device implants, I continue to be a strong advocate for this procedure. I am confident in its effectiveness and its ability to bring peace of mind to patients,” Dr. Otto said. “It not only decreases a patient’s risk for stroke, but it too can eliminate the need for patients to take costly anticoagulant medications for the rest of their life.”

Dr. Otto wanted to extend her appreciation and thanks to the Portneuf Heart and Vascular team and commented that this heart team can service the hearts needs of this community.



About Portneuf Medical Center

Portneuf Medical Center (PMC), a 205-bed tertiary hospital with highly specialized staff and technical equipment, delivers compassionate healthcare to southern and eastern Idaho and western Wyoming. Our mission is to be the first choice for patients in the region for all their healthcare needs. Portneuf Medical Center offers a Level II trauma center, Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), a Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) certified cancer center, high-performing orthopedic services, and a full suite of cardiac care. In addition, PMC has one of the largest surgery practices in the state, robotics-trained surgeons, an award-winning vein center, a fully accredited wound care clinic, innovative urological care, high-performing orthopedics, and primary care to support all ages.

As a teaching hospital, Portneuf is committed to raising the bar in healthcare while also raising the next generation of providers. Family practice residents, pharmacists, nurses, medical technicians, dietitians and therapists train in the medical center.

The governance of Portneuf Medical Center is split 50/50 between Portneuf Health Trust and the parent company Ardent Health Services As a major employer in Pocatello, we have 1,600 well-qualified employees and we continue to grow.