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SBA To Provide Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19) Up to $2 Million in Disaster Assistance Loans
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Baptist Golden Triangle offers expanded cardiac treatment options


Megan Pratt Marketing Director E-mail- Ayoka Pond Director, Public Relations



COLUMBUS, Miss., February 12, 2020 – The addition of a new hybrid operating room and an updated cardiac catheterization lab at Baptist Memorial Hospital – Golden Triangle in 2019 has allowed for an expansion in the surgical as well as minimally invasive options to treat cardiac patients in the Golden Triangle.

Dr. Hemraj Makwana, interventional cardiologist, performed the first minimally invasive, atrial-septal defect closure to repair a congenital heart defect on a patient at Baptist Golden Triangle in 2019. Makwana has also implanted the Watchman device in several patients. The Watchman is the only Food and Drug Administration-approved implant proven to reduce the risk of stroke in people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem. This procedure is usually done at hospitals in larger urban areas, he said.

This device is an alternative treatment for AFib patients who cannot tolerate blood thinners, Makwana said.

He will presenting a free Learn at Lunch program on AFib and this procedure on March 18, noon to 1:00 pm in the hospital’s Outpatient Pavilion Conference Center. Lunch will be provided but registration is required by calling 662-244-1132 by March 13.

Everyone is born with a small appendage on the left side of the heart. In patients with an irregular heartbeat, or AFib, blood can pool in this small cavity and form a clot that can move to another part of the body, cutting off the blood supply to the brain and causing a stroke, Makwana explained. The condition affects 1 to 2 percent of Americans, and the standard treatment has been a lifetime on a blood thinner such as Warfarin, he added.

In 2015, the FDA approved the Watchman as an implant to seal this appendage, preventing blood from pooling and any clots from forming. Patients on a blood thinner can usually come off the medicine within 45 days, after heart tissue has grown around the device, completing the seal.

“This procedure can reduce the risk of a stroke in a patient with AFib not on a blood thinner by up to 90 percent,” said Makwana. It is often the best option for people who can’t take a blood thinner; have had a brain bleed; a stomach bleed; have frequent nose bleeds; a risk of bleeding due to frequent falls; or whose job or lifestyle might put them at risk for major bleeding, such as construction workers, farmers or ranch workers/owners.

Makwana recommends that people with AFib who can’t take a blood thinner talk to their primary care physician or cardiologist to see if they are a candidate for the Watchman procedure.

With 315 beds, Baptist Golden Triangle is one of the largest regional hospitals affiliated with the Memphis, Tenn.-based Baptist Memorial Health Care system. It is the only hospital in Mississippi and one of only 36 in the United States to have earned Straight A’s for patient safety from the Leapfrog Group since the national independent watchdog group started awarding grades for patient safety in 2012.

The safety Grade assigns letter grades of ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’, and ‘F’ to hospitals across the country based on their performance in preventing medical errors, infections and other harms. Developed under the guidance of a national Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. acute-care hospitals twice each year.

            The hospital offers a variety of services to the community, including Baptist Cancer Centers in Columbus and Starkville, Baptist Behavioral Health Care for those with behavioral and mental health problems, an extensive rehabilitation department, and free community education programs for the public. For more information, please call 662-244-1000, visit or follow us on Facebook at



Megan Pratt                      
Marketing Director                     
Phone- 662-242-2008                    
Cell phone 205-454-1132                 

Ayoka Pond
Director, Public Relations
Phone- 901-227-3503
Cell Phone - 901-581-5637