WATCHMAN™ - Alternative to Blood Thinners
Our heart team at CHI St. Vincent was one of the first in Arkansas to offer the WATCHMAN™ device to treat Atrial Fibrillation (AFib). This device provides an alternative to blood-thinners for preventing strokes. Long-term warfarin therapy is not appropriate for every patient. For some patients this therapy carries a significant risk for bleeding complications.
The WATCHMAN device provides an alternative to long-term warfarin therapy for preventing stokes. This device is implanted in the heart using non-invasive surgical methods. Patients are usually sent home the following day. It helps prevent strokes by stopping by closing the source of more than 90% of stroke-causing blood clots that come from the heart.
Dr. Douglas Borg on the WATCHMAN
The standard of care right now is anti-coagulation with medicines. But there are a number of people that either are not good candidates-- they've had bleeding, or they've had other related problems and they simply cannot take these medicines.
And they're at risk of stroke just like everybody else with atrial fibrillation. So, we have a number of people walking around with stroke risks, anywhere from 5 to 7 percent per year, and WATCHMAN is an alternative that is at least probably as good as as regular medicines.
We do a procedure where we insert a wedge-shaped device into the crescent-shaped left atrial appendage. That is where most strokes generate.
It involves a lot of evaluation ahead of time to see if we can successfully implant this wedge-shaped device. We actually have to cross a portion of the inter-atrial septum to get there. It does involve some very technical aspects. But we can help patients that no one has been able to help before.