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Local Physician Talks Fitness and Health

Most mornings Dr. Brett Faulknier can be found running, biking or swimming. A marathoner and triathlete, Faulknier practices what he preaches. As the Director of Electrophysiology at Indian River Medical Center (IRMC), he understands the importance of exercising regularly and living an active lifestyle.

“People come to the office and talk about health and wellness. Where you start and where you end up is different… the process is long and it takes time.”

And no one knows that more than Dr. Faulknier. Though he grew up in West Virginia playing basketball, it wasn’t until a friend talked him into running a 10K that he started a training regimen. The 10K led to half marathons, which eventually led him to the challenge of being part of the 1% who run a full-marathon.

A major goal of Faulknier’s was to run the Boston Marathon. After a few attempts to qualify over the years, once missing the cutoff time by a mere 10 seconds, he qualified and completed the 26.2 mile course in 2017. Faulknier encourages his patients to set goals and work at achieving them. “You have to get out there and do it… invest time into it.”

Dr. Faulknier has completed several half Ironman triathlons, three full Ironman races, and placed seventh out of 142 participants in the 2018 Keys Ultra 100 Mile race. Over the years he has represented the US in international races and triathlons in countries like Denmark and Colombia, and recently qualified for the 2019 USA Triathlon team that will compete in Spain.

Faulknier devotes about ten hours per week to training and credits that to improving both his physical and mental health. “Heart surgeries can be very difficult at times. Some procedures are long and I can be standing for 3-4 hours,” he said.

With consistency, a person can be very successful, Faulknier added. As he meets with patients, he talks to them about how to be healthy- like picking the right habits and staying course. “We will all have our unhealthy days, but keeping up with healthy habits will improve your day-to-day activities.”

Faulknier joined Indian River Medical Center in 2016, the same year IRMC opened their state-of-the-art electrophysiology lab. The technologically advanced cardiac cath lab and two surgical suites make the Welsh Heart Center one of the most comprehensive cardiovascular programs in the country. During procedures, Dr. Faulknier uses two systems that allow him to take an x-ray image and overlay that with 3D computer-based mapping software. Those combined systems allow Dr. Faulknier to precisely perform surgeries and lower the risk of complications.

“Being an electrophysiologist is like being a heart electrician,” Faulkner said. During an electrophysiology (EP) study, the physician safely reproduces a patient’s particular heart rhythm disturbance so the most appropriate treatment can be determined. Treatment might include medication or a procedure (ablation)/device to normalize the heart rhythm. An EP study may also be used to monitor the success of treatment using certain implantable devices.

After two years, Faulknier is pleased with the growth of IRMC’s electrophysiology program. “We’ve made a lot of really good progress over that time.” Dr. Faulknier is the only electrophysiologist in Indian River County. He performs around 400 surgeries per year including procedures like implanting pacemakers or defibrillators as well as various types of cardiac ablations.

“What makes us unique is that our hospital is not small or enormous, it’s more like a boutique feel where patients get individualized care. The right care, right here slogan is great because we’ve kept people from being sent elsewhere [for care]. People can look at what we have to offer and consider us [for treatment] without having to travel out of our area.”

Dr. Faulknier is board certified in Adult Cardiovascular Disease and Cardiac Electrophysiology. Prior to joining IRMC, he served seven years as Section Director of Electrophysiology and Associate Professor of Medicine at West Virginia University Charleston. Faulknier received his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine and earned fellowships in Adult Cardiovascular Disease and Cardiovascular Electrophysiology.

Dr. Faulknier is located at the Health and Wellness Center. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (772) 226-4830.

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