A heart filled Doctor brings a new surgery to Wyoming

Published: Oct. 16, 2021 at 6:30 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - A unique heart surgery was performed for the first time in Wyoming this week, and who knew it would have all started years ago with a museum visit.

Chicago-based, Atman Shah, is an Intervention Cardiologist who travels the country helping to mend people’s hearts.

He has currently worked at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center for 2 and a half years now.

“I can actually drive around without maps now,” said Shah.

Dr. Shah performed and helped train the first Patent Foramen Ovale or PFO surgery performed in Wyoming this week.

This illness happens when a hole in a baby’s heart where Mom’s blood flows in doesn’t close entirely once born.

The procedure was done on a 78-year male, recommended by his neurologist, who ruled out all other reasons for his stroke.

“It’s recommended by the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Neurology to take care of patients who have a cryptogenic stroke, meaning a stroke that we can’t blame on anything else except for the PFO, so the patient underwent the procedure yesterday. He’s doing fantastic, he feels great. He’s actually going home this morning,” said Shah.

This condition affects about 25 percent of the population and patients may grapple with migraines or suffer when at higher elevations before they are diagnosed.

Dr. Shah used the procedure to help train fellow Doctors at the hospital and he has traveled to different states performing cardiac surgeries on his favorite subject.

Shah fell in love with medicine and the heart, thanks to a visit to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.

“In Chicago there’s the Museum of Science and Industry which many people have seen or visited. Growing up. there’s a huge heart model and you could walk through the heart model and I remember being so entranced by it. trying to look where they blood came and where it went it was a model but it was inspirational to me. That kind of pushed me to become a physician and cardiology was something I was always interested in,” said Shah.

Getting patients in for elective surgeries has been challenging, though, due to Covid. With hospitals recently coming down from surges, patients can now get scheduled for the life-sustaining procedures they need.

“The ability to offer this procedure can definitely help a lot of patients who are suffering Normally patients who have PFO are put on bloodthinners and those bloodthinners can have a lot of adverse complications. But now there’s a way to have an out-patient procedure, to have this PFO closed and reduce the likelihood of stroke by almost 95 percent,” said Shah.

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