On January 25 Providence Health implanted the first newly approved Watchman device in the Midlands, designed for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (A-fib).

People with A-fib have a five times greater risk of stroke. Blood thinning medicines such as warfarin have long been the standard method of preventing stroke-causing blood clots in A-fib patients. However, warfarin has its own lengthy list of potential complications and side effects. Those who cannot tolerate the medicine may now have an alternative.

Atrial fibrillation can cause blood to pool and form clots in an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA). These blood clots can break loose and travel in the blood stream to the brain, lungs, and other parts of the body. In patients with non-valvular A-fib, the LAA is believed to be the major source of stroke-causing blood clots.(2)

The Watchman Implant closes off the LAA, which prevents harmful blood clots in the LAA from traveling to the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke.

“This is a safer and effective alternative for many patients who previously had bleeding complications or were unable to tolerate blood thinners,” says Dr. Manish Jain, an Electrophysiologist (Heart rhythm specialist) at Providence Health who will be implanting the device. “We are excited to be able to offer this cutting-edge technology that leads to enhanced quality of life for our patients in the Midlands.”

Implanting the Watchman Device is a one-time minimally invasive procedure that usually lasts about an hour. Following the procedure, patients typically need to stay in the hospital for 24 hours.

For more information on the Watchman Implant, visit: watchmanimplant.com. For information about Providence Health’s introduction of Watchman visit: http://yourprovidencehealth.com/our-services/cardiac-care/watchman-for-a-fib-first-in-the-midlands.