SMH Among Top 20 in U.S. for A-Fib Treatment with Watchman

SMH Among Top 20 in U.S. for A-Fib Treatment with Watchman

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

SARASOTA — Sarasota Memorial Hospital has earned a spot among the nation’s Top 20 Watchman programs for the treatment of atrial fibrillation (A-Fib). SMH is 1 of only 2 hospitals in the state of Florida to reach this milestone, with more than 500 procedures performed to date.

The Watchman is a one-time implant that provides A-Fib patients an alternative to a lifetime of blood thinners, while significantly reducing the risks of stroke and bleeding. The Watchman implant does not require open heart surgery or need to be replaced. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and takes about an hour. Most patients who get the implant are able to go home the same day or the next day. 

A-Fib occurs when the beating in the upper chambers of the heart is irregular and blood doesn’t flow as well as it should. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, A-Fib is the most common type of heart arrhythmia and is associated with an increased risk of stroke.

Treating A-Fib is vital for the health of patients and can significantly reduce hospitalizations and deaths, explained SMH Chief Medical Officer James Fiorica, MD., who credits SMH’s heart team for the hospital’s excellent outcomes. 

Watchman hots 500

“We know this is changing lives and saving lives for hundreds of people in our community,” Dr. Fiorica said. “We are fortunate to have a highly skilled, experienced heart team dedicated to bringing new, less invasive procedures to patients at Sarasota Memorial.”

At Sarasota Memorial, the Watchman procedure is performed by cardiac electrophysiologists Robert Eckart, DO; Rajesh Malik, MD; Dilip Mathew, MD; Antonio Moretta, MD; and Sidney Peykar, MD; and interventional cardiologist Ricardo Yaryura, MD. 

For more information on Sarasota Memorial’s heart team and the Watchman device, visit 

About Sarasota Memorial 
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of care, with more than 1 million patient visits each year. Its flagship 839-bed, acute-care hospital has been consistently recognized as one of the nation’s largest and best, with superior patient outcomes and a complete continuum of outpatient services – from urgent care, trauma and emergency services to laboratory and diagnostic imaging, home health, skilled nursing and rehabilitation. SMH is the only hospital in Florida to have consistently earned the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ highest five-star quality award since the rating system launched in 2016.