Tag Archives: Dr. Robert Leonardi

The Watchman Reduces Risk of Stroke

The Watchman is a new device used at Lexington Medical Center that can dramatically reduce the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular heart rhythm. Dr. Robert Leonardi of Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, talked about The Watchman in this WLTX interview.


For more information on cardiovascular services at Lexington Medical Center, visit LexMed.com/Heart.

Finding Closure: New Heart Device Reduces Stroke Risk

Lexington Medical Center is the first hospital in South Carolina to use a brand new device proven to reduce the risk of stroke in a substantial number of patients.

The Amplatzer PFO Occluder device by St. Jude Medical is for patients who have a small hole in the heart called a patent foramen ovale (PFO). About 25 to 30 percent of Americans have a PFO.

Typically, it causes no health problems and does not require treatment. But in some cases, clots can form in the veins, use the PFO to get into the arteries, and cause a stroke.

Patients who have suffered a stroke because of a PFO have an increased risk of experiencing a second stroke. Physicians now use the PFO occluder to close the hole in the heart and reduce the risk of another stroke.

While doctors have been closing PFOs for years, it’s the first time there has been a device with specific emphasis on stroke patients.

Robert Leonardi, MD, FACC, FSCAI

“It’s the first FDA-approved device for stroke reduction,” said Robert Leonardi, MD, FACC, FSCAI of Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. “In fact, the stroke reduction rate is estimated to be 50 percent.”

Doctors insert the PFO occluder through a catheter in the femoral vein in the leg. They thread the device through the PFO in the top chambers of the heart, known as the left and right atria.

While doctors can pinpoint the cause of most strokes from risk factors including high blood pressure, narrowed blood vessels, or a blood clot caused by an abnormal heart rhythm, some patients have strokes with a less obvious cause. That’s when doctors investigate the possibility of a PFO, usually discovered through an ultrasound of the heart.


New Aortic Valve Procedure Answers Prayer

Thomas Caldwell has a heart for prayer. As pastor of Beacon Baptist Church in Lexington, he leads his congregation with faith. This fall, when doctors at Lexington Medial Center told him there was something wrong with his aortic valve and that it needed to be replaced, he began to pray.

The pastor shared his story with Dawndy Mercer Plank in this WIS-TV news story. Watch it below.


At age 81, Thomas decided he didn’t want to have open heart surgery. That was a big decision because not having his aortic valve fixed could shorten his life. But he soon learned he was a candidate for transcatheter aortic valve replacement, known as TAVR. The procedure used to be considered experimental and only for patients who were unable to have open heart surgery because of advanced age or other health problems. But right after Thomas’ appointment and his conversation with God, the procedure was approved for nearly all aortic valve patients. In fact, Thomas became the first patient to have TAVR at Lexington Medical Center under the newly expanded guidelines.