The Only to Offer WATCHMAN in the Capital Region

The Only to Offer WATCHMAN in the Capital Region


The Only to Offer WATCHMAN in the Capital Region

New heart procedure could be a ‘game-changer’ for AFib patients in the Capital Region

Patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib) are at five times greater risk of developing stroke. Starting in 2015, Dr. Augustin DeLago, President of Capital Cardiology Associates, began practicing an alternative to treatment for patients with AFib known as The WATCHMAN. “The WATCHMAN is a device that doesn’t treat AFib, but it essentially blocks off an area of the heart where 90-95% of all blood clots form in patients with atrial fibrillation,” shared Dr. DeLago.

Today, Capital Cardiology Associates is proud to announce our practice is one of a handful of pioneers leading the way offering procedures and treatment to A-Fib patients. “We have implanted over 100 WATCHMAN devices, and Capital Cardiology Associates is the only center in the Capital Region offering this procedure,” stated Dr. DeLago.

An estimated five million Americans are affected by AFib an irregular heartbeat that feels like a quivering heart. People with untreated atrial fibrillation may be at higher risk for stroke than people with normal heart rhythms. Because blood does not flow through the atria regularly, blood clots may form in the heart. If a blood clot escapes from the heart, it can travel through the bloodstream to the brain and cause a stroke.

The WATCHMAN, which has been implanted in more than 50,000 patients worldwide, is a permanent implant device that closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA) to keep harmful blood clots that can form in the LAA from entering the bloodstream and potentially causing a stroke. “I consider it the appendix of the heart, it’s a vestigial organ, you don’t need it,” said Dr. DeLago. “The LAA is important in embryonic development, but as an adult, you don’t need it. It’s only a place that harbors blood clots.” By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking warfarin.

Patients with AFib may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
• Heart palpitations (a sudden pounding, fluttering, or racing feeling in the chest)
• Lack of energy, feeling tired
• Dizziness, or a sense of faintness or light-headedness
• Chest discomfort (pain, pressure, or tightness in the chest)
• Shortness of breath

Is The WATCHMAN right for you?

“There are a group of patients that have had previous bleeding on traditional blood thinners or the new medications that you see advertised like crazy on TV,” began Dr. DeLago. “They have had a previous event. I tell them that if you have had a major bleed while on one of these medications, your mortality rate can be as much as 13%. We tell them that they have to come off these medications because there is no alternative. With The WATCHMAN, we can give hope to the hopeless. We can put this device in and reduce their instance of stroke as if they were on COUMADIN (traditional blood thinner), giving them reduce stroke incidents without increasing their bleeding problems.”

If you have a history of bleeding or a lifestyle, occupation or condition that puts you at risk for bleeding, WATCHMAN may be right for you. But like any medical procedure, WATCHMAN comes with risks, so it isn’t right for everyone. Your cardiologist will weigh your risk of a stroke against your risk of a serious bleeding problem to determine the right treatment for you. For more information, patient education videos, or to schedule an appointment with our WATCHMEN team, click below.

Written by: Michael Arce, Media Specialist Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

World Stroke Day

World Stroke Day

Capital Cardiology Associates

World Stroke Day

Joining together for one day to fight the #2 cause of death in the world

Stroke is a leading cause of death around the world. But that’s just part of the story. 80 million people in the world have had a stroke, 50 million stroke survivors live with some form of permanent disability. The fact is, stroke is largely treatable and with healthy lifestyle changes, starting today, you can reduce your risk of becoming a statistic this year.

The World Stroke Organization is dedicated to improve care for stroke survivors worldwide.

What Happens

Director of Clinical Research, Dr. Robert Benton explains how a stroke event is similar to a heart attack. “Essentially for both of them you have an instance where you’re losing blood flow to a part of the brain or the heart. That is the common finding in both of them. In the heart, usually, this is caused by a cholesterol plaque that has become inflamed, ruptures because you are smoking, or because you have high blood pressure, and there’s a blood clot that forms and blocks blood flow to the heart. When the heart muscle doesn’t get blood, it dies. The brain is similar in that you can have plaque in your brain but the brain is also susceptible to other findings, that would be emboli that fly either from your neck, clotting breaking off from the arteries or the aorta, or one of the common causes of stroke called, atrial fibrillation (AFib).

Causes of Stroke

There are three main areas of stroke risk factors: lifestyle, medical, and uncontrollable. Dr. Benton advises that we work with our doctor to identify our personal risk factors for stroke as we would with heart disease. “Heart attack and stroke can have very similar risk factors that lead to them. Smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle… all of those things can contribute to your risk.” Tobacco use and smoking double the risk of stroke when compared to a nonsmoker. Smoking increases clot formation, thickens blood, and increases the amount of plaque buildup in the arteries. “People can have a genetic pre-disposition to stroke: high blood pressure, arrhythmia, cholesterol levels, these things can be genetically programmed. Then you do yourself no big favor by smoking cigarettes, eating a poor diet, not exercising where you can compound your genetic disposition for stroke with poor or bad lifestyle choices. Those two factors really work together,” pointed out Benton.

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Prevention Is The Best Cure For Stroke

The good news is, 80% of strokes can be prevented. “Strokes are as preventable as a heart attack and they are actually quite similar,” states Mary Ellen King, Nurse Practitioner at Capital Cardiology Associates. “With heart attacks people know eat a healthy diet, manage cholesterol, exercise and a stroke is the same thing.” Ultimately, regular visits with your healthcare provider will assess and monitor your risk for stroke.

Most importantly if you are over the age of 60 and haven’t been checked for AFib, see your doctor. “Most people with AFib don’t feel it. We find it on an EKG. Or a pacemaker, heart monitor, or they are wearing their FitBit or Apple Watch, whatever it is, they notice their heart rate is jumping all over the place and it’s faster than what it used to be.” Early detection of stroke is the biggest element in prevention. “The time piece of identifying stroke is so important because the longer that part of the brain goes without blood and oxygen supply, the worse the outcome is. Unfortunately, people live through strokes but they can be very debilitating and life altering,” explained King.

Monday, October 29th is World Stroke Day. Join Capital Cardiology and The World Stroke Association in the effort to raise awareness of stroke prevention, treatment and support. Meet with your doctor this fall to discuss your risk of stroke. If you are a stroke survivor, consider connecting with other members, partners, and survivors in the Capital Region by joining organizations involved with local support events.

Written by: Michael Arce, Media Specialist
Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

Valsartan Recall

Valsartan Recall

Capital Cardiology Associates

Drug Recall

FDA announces voluntary recall of several medicines containing Valsartan following detection of an impurity

Patient Information

Valsartan Recall

On Friday, July 13, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerted health care professionals and patients of a voluntary recall of several drug products containing the active ingredient valsartan, used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

This recall is due to an impurity, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which was found in the recalled products. However, not all products containing valsartan are being recalled. NDMA is classified as a probable human carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer) based on results from laboratory tests. The presence of NDMA was unexpected and is thought to be related to changes in the way the active substance was manufactured.

The FDA’s review is ongoing and has included investigating the levels of NDMA in the recalled products, assessing the possible effect on patients who have been taking them and what measures can be taken to reduce or eliminate the impurity from future batches produced by the company.

“The FDA is committed to maintaining our gold standard for safety and efficacy. That includes our efforts to ensure the quality of drugs and the safe manner in which they’re manufactured,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “When we identify lapses in the quality of drugs and problems with their manufacturing that have the potential to create risks to patients, we’re committed to taking swift action to alert the public and help facilitate the removal of the products from the market. As we seek the removal of certain drug products today, our drug shortages team is also working hard to ensure patients’ therapeutic needs are met in the United States with an adequate supply of unaffected medications.”

• Because valsartan is used in medicines to treat serious medical conditions, patients taking the recalled valsartan-containing medicines should continue taking their medicine until they have a replacement product.
• To determine whether a specific product has been recalled, patients should look at the drug name and company name on the label of their prescription bottle. If the information is not on the bottle, patients should contact the pharmacy that dispensed the medicine.
• If a patient is taking one of the recalled medicines listed below, they should follow the recall instructions provided by the specific company. This information will be posted to the FDA’s website.
• Patients should also contact their health care professional (the pharmacist who dispensed the medication or doctor who prescribed the medication) if their medicine is included in this recall to discuss their treatment, which may include another valsartan product not affected by this recall or an alternative treatment option.

Get Answers

Talk with medical professionals

Call the FDA help line at 888-INFO-FDA
Call Capital Cardiology Associates at 518-292-6004 to speak with your physician.

The companies listed below are recalling all lots of non-expired products that contain the ingredient valsartan supplied by a third-party. Not all valsartan-containing medicines distributed in the United States have valsartan active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) supplied by this specific company. The supplier has stopped distributing its valsartan API and the FDA is working with the affected companies to reduce or eliminate the valsartan API impurity from future products.




Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ)

Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ)

Major Pharmaceuticals

Solco Healthcare

Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.

Solco Healthcare

Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.

“We have carefully assessed the valsartan-containing medications sold in the United States, and we’ve found that the valsartan sold by these specific companies does not meet our safety standards. This is why we’ve asked these companies to take immediate action to protect patients,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

The FDA will continue to investigate this issue and provide additional information when it becomes available. The agency encourages patients and health care professionals to report any adverse reaction to the FDA’s MedWatch program.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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Medical Service

Medical Service

Military Medical Service

Profiling medical professionals with a desire to serve our country

Capital Cardiology Associates proudly salutes all servicemen and women in our Armed Forces.

Military Doctor

On the photo board in the lobby of our Corporate Woods location, there is one physician’s image that will catch your eye. As you scan through the accomplished faces of our board certified cardiologists, the pride on his face and the gleam of his military uniform are hard to miss. On a recent episode of HeartTalk presented by Capital Cardiology Associates, Dr. Kevin Woods joined me to discuss his unique distinction of being a decorated military doctor. Prior to joining Capital Cardiology he was a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, a Staff Cardiologist and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, DC. His service record also includes a deployment in Operation Enduring Freedom. We talked about his military career, his love for our country, his passion to save lives, and his desire to serve.

The United States Army Medical Service Corps began when the Continental Congress recruited doctors to serve the army in 1775. Their service continued as the Civil War Ambulance Corps. In WWI, the Sanitary Corps was formed in 1917. Within in a year the Corps expanded to nearly 3,000 officers. WWII saw the creation of the Medical Administrative Corps (MAC) which had over 22,000 officers by 1945. In 1947, the Medical Service Corps was established and to this day, serves at the forefront of the Army Medical Department’s humanitarian role in national defense.

Dr Kevin Woods

Dr. Kevin M. Woods, Lt Col, US Army

A Desire to Serve

“My route to become a physician is different than some but similar to many at the same time,” Woods explained. “I didn’t know that I wanted to study medicine until later in my college career. I attended the United States Military Academy at West Point with a desire to serve our country. I always knew I wanted to attend West Point and have a military career. It wasn’t until my third year when I was turned on to anatomy and physiology. After taking one course I was fascinated and decided that medicine is what I wanted to do.”

Dr. Woods pointed out that the Army needs doctors and offers generous financial assistance to attract them. “I went to medical school at Boston University on a military scholarship after graduating from West Point. The military offers a great program to receive a world-class education for undergraduate and medical school.” The American Medical Association estimates the average cost of four years of medical school to be more than $250,000 and the Army offers aid to pay for the whole package. The centerpiece of the military’s education benefits is the GI Bill, which in 1944 became the law that provided veterans of WWII funds for college education, unemployment insurance, and housing. In 2012, the Post-9/11 GI Bill coverage, accounted for 52% of completed Bachelor’s degree of military beneficiaries. Read more about the education benefits offered to military service members, here.

(center) Dr. Lance Sullenberger, Major, US Army.

There is also the option of serve your country in the field of medicine. Woods explained, “many people don’t know that we have our Medical Corps, that the men and women in our armed service need to taken care of as well, including our veterans and military families.” Currently, the Medical Corps consists of over 4,400 active duty physicians representing all the specialties and subspecialties of civilian medicine. About 65 percent of Army doctors are reserve officers, serving part-time when not called to active duty. The rest opt for a full-time military career. Almost all medical specialties are represented. You’ll also find opportunities to do research, to teach, or to work in medical administration.

Initially Dr. Woods had an interest in pediatrics. “After my first rotation I thought I was going to be a pediatrician, I love working with kids.” Eventually internal medicine and cardiology captured his passion to help others. “I found it fascinating taking care of those patients. The procedures involved, the opportunities for research and disease prevention. I saw the ability to make a difference! What we did as providers mattered; we could reduce the risk of patients’ complications with the ultimate goal of preventing heart disease to develop.”

After medical school, Dr. Woods’ medical career continued at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, DC where he was awarded the distinction of Master Clinician. While at Walter Reed, Woods’ noted, “there were opportunities to perform missions overseas, traveling to Hawaii, Germany, and in Afghanistan serving in Operation Enduring Freedom.” All said, Dr. Woods’ invested almost 25 years in his military career. “I still have my Reserves affiliation with some opportunities that I may look into in the future. Today, I enjoy my medical career at Capital Cardiology Associates working with my patients and colleagues.”

Dr Woods in Afghanistan

Dr. Woods in Afghanistan

Looking back at his education at West Point, Dr. Woods had a much different college experience than typical pre-med students. “There is mandatory military training requirements at West Point. I did basic training, advanced field training, I went to Airborne school to jump out of airplanes. Did some overseas time in Korea when I was there. You still get all of the leadership training while serving in the Medical Corps just like any other aspect of the military.” I thought back to my days as an undergraduate, my civilian college career focused on classes that fit around my work and social schedule. My college experience was much different than Dr. Woods’. “There are the same physical requirements: competing in intramural sports, participating in drills.” We also talked about how the class schedules at West Point are not like the courses I took in at college. “Really, you do all of the military training it just comes down to when you have electives from an academic standpoint, you gear them more towards the medical field, instead of doing advance training in Infantry, Armor, or Aviation. I went down to Walter Reed to hone my medical skills to ensure that I was building on my knowledge.” I began to understand that cadets attend West Point with the same focus needed to have a successful military career.

We Salute You

Capital Cardiology Associates Salutes Our Veterans

From the Revolutionary War to present day service members, Capital Cardiology Associates proudly salutes our Veterans. Read more about our partnership with the Troy Military Banners as well as the profiles of our employees who have served in our Armed Forces.


Military Physicians

Our conversation moved to the differences between civilian and military physicians. There are countless TV shows and movies that feature doctors as main characters. ER, Grey’s Anatomy, and St. Elsewhere, all prime time medical dramas that dominated TV viewing for the last 4 decades. M*A*S*H was also one of the highest rated TV shows of the 70’s and 80’s; one of the only programs to spotlight a team of military doctors and nurses. Dr. Woods acknowledged that most Americans don’t clearly understand the role of doctors in our military. “We don’t just serve stateside and care for our healthy service men and women at home. We are asked to do things that civilian doctors and providers are not — that goes for all of healthcare professionals in the military.” Woods described that while he was stationed stateside, he would see a mix of patients that were active duty, veterans, and their families. At home his focus would also be on his specialty: cardiology.

Military Nurse

When he was deployed, Lt. Colonel Woods’ role would change from cardiologist to soldier. He recalled one of his overseas missions. “I was stationed on a forward operating base that was on the Pakistan border where there are no other doctors. I deployed as a battalion surgeon. I saw more trauma patients and sick calls. I had a couple of physicians assistants and young medics,” noted Woods. The image he described was a much different working situation than what patients experience at Capital Cardiology Associates. As the only medical resource in the area, his team was also asked to care for the local population. “We also worked with the indigenous population as well, trying to promote a better health care system, taking care of the locals with medical issues and trauma.” For his service in Afghanistan, Dr. Woods was awarded the Bronze Star.

Opportunity to Serve

There are more than 800 different types of jobs available in the various branches of the United States Armed Forces. As a parent, it was hard for me to believe that medicine was one that could be overlooked for consideration by students today. I found over 100 openings while searching for “military medical careers.” That’s just in the Albany area! Dr. Woods’ advice for young people considering a military medical career, “there are many different opportunities and stages in your medical career to get involved with the military. You could attend West Point, if you desire. If your goal is to be a medical doctor you can get involved after you finish college and attend a military medical school, we have one down in Bethesda on the grounds of Walter Reed. On occasion we have people who join up after they have completed civilian medical school.”

I asked Dr. Woods, looking back on his 24 years of service which includes 15 years of active duty, if he ever envisioned a different life, perhaps one taking a different path to medicine. “Honestly, I really don’t,” he said. “It was fascinating to me how everything came together; I wanted to go to West Point. I only applied to one other school as a backup! I really didn’t look anything else. At West Point, I discovered that I wanted to do internal medicine, that I wanted to learn more and study at Walter Reed. My career path has been very rewarding for me. If I looked back I would do it again in a heartbeat!”

Written by: Michael Arce, host of HeartTalk presented by Capital Cardiology Associates. HeartTalk airs Sunday at 1PM on NewsRadio WGY. You can listen anytime on iHeartRadio.

Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

Milestone: 100 Watchman Procedures

Milestone: 100 Watchman Procedures

The Watchman

The one-time procedure for people with Atrial Fibrillation

“We have implanted over 100 WATCHMAN devices and Capital Cardiology Associates is the only center in the Capital Region offering this procedure.”

Starting in 2015, Dr. Augustin DeLago, President of Capital Cardiology Associates, began practicing alternatives to treatment for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). The WATCHMAN device is a novel alternative for patients with non-valvular AF at risk for a stroke, especially those with a compelling reason not to be on blood thinners,” said DeLago. “I’m proud to have performed the 100th implant of this device as it offers another patient potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment.”

May is National Stroke Awareness Month, which serves as a timely reminder of the increased risk of stroke among people living with AF. “People with atrial fibrillation are at significant risk of stroke, which can have a serious emotional and psychological effect on them,” said Mellanie True Hills, founder and chief executive officer,, a patient advocacy organization for those living with Afib. “Thus it is important for them to be aware of and understand recent medical advances and treatments that can help with stroke prevention.”

An estimated five million Americans are affected by AF – an irregular heartbeat that feels like a quivering heart. People with AF have a five times greater risk of stroke than those with normal heart rhythms. The WATCHMAN device closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA) to keep harmful blood clots that can form in the LAA from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking warfarin.

Is The WATCHMAN Right For You?

This procedure is performed by a board-certified cardiologist from Capital Cardiology Associates

Important Safety Information

The WATCHMAN Device is a permanent implant designed to close the left atrial appendage in the heart in an effort to reduce the risk of stroke.

With all medical procedures there are risks associated with the implant procedure and the use of the device. “People that have had a previous gastrointestinal bleed, people that have a history of falling or trauma, these patients we don’t want to put on anti-coagulation, because the bleeding risk may be higher than the stroke risk,” pointed out DeLago. The risks include but are not limited to accidental heart puncture, air embolism, allergic reaction, anemia, anesthesia risks, arrhythmias, AV (Arteriovenous) fistula, bleeding or throat pain from the TEE (Trans Esophageal Echo) probe, blood clot or air bubbles in the lungs or other organs, bruising at the catheter insertion site, clot formation on the WATCHMAN™ Closure Device, cranial bleed, excessive bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding, groin puncture bleed, hypotension, infection/pneumonia, pneumothorax, pulmonary edema, pulmonary vein obstruction, renal failure, stroke, thrombosis and transient ischemic attack. In rare cases death can occur.

Be sure to talk with your doctor so that you thoroughly understand all of the risks and benefits associated with the implantation of the WATCHMAN Device.

Written by: Michael Arce, Media Specialist, Capital Cardiology Associates. All Rights Reserved 2018 ©.

Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.