The WATCHMAN Device is a permanent heart implant is the only FDA-approved device for the reduction of stroke risk in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation
Charlotte, NC – Dr. Alli at Novant Health Presbyterian Hospital became the first physician in the state of North Carolina who has implanted 100 patients with the WATCHMAN™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Device in patients with atrial fibrillation. The hospital is one of only a few to offer the WATCHMAN device as an alternative to the lifelong use of warfarin for people with AF not caused by a heart valve problem.
September is Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month which serves as a timely reminder of the increased risk of stroke among people living with AF. 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 bloodstream 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.
“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 Dr.Alli. “I’m proud to have performed over 100 implants of this device at our institution as it offers another patient potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment.”
The WATCHMAN device has been implanted in more than 80,000 patients worldwide and is done in a one-time procedure. It’s a permanent device that doesn’t have to be replaced and can’t be seen outside the body. The procedure is done under general anesthesia and takes about an hour. Patients commonly stay in the hospital overnight and leave the next day.
“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, StopAfib.org, 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.”
About Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a heart condition where the upper chambers of the heart (atrium) beat too fast and with irregular rhythm (fibrillation). AF is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, currently affecting more than five million Americans. Twenty percent of all strokes occur in patients with AF, and AF-related strokes are more frequently fatal and disabling. The most common treatment to reduce stroke risk in patients with AF is blood-thinning warfarin medication. Despite its proven efficacy, long-term warfarin medication is not well-tolerated by some patients and carries a significant risk for bleeding complications. Nearly half of AF patients eligible for warfarin are currently untreated due to tolerance and adherence issues.
For more information on the WATCHMAN device, please visit www.watchman.com.