Newly Approved WATCHMAN™ Device Reduces Stroke Risk in A-Fib Patients

Connie Wiley of Woodbridge, Va. is one of the first patients to receive the WATCHMAN™ Device

This summer, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute physicians implanted the WATCHMAN™ Device in the first patients in the region, significantly reducing their risk of stroke.

These patients all have an irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation, or A-fib. The condition, which affects more than 5 million Americans, increases patients’ risk of having a stroke. To reduce that risk, most patients with A-fib take blood thinners, but many have difficulty using these medications, which can result in internal bleeding and other issues, explains Zayd Eldadah, MD, PhD, director of Cardiac Electrophysiology with MedStar Heart at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

It is a tiny mesh tool that is implanted in the heart to close off an area called the left atrial appendage.

The WATCHMAN™ Device presents an alternative to blood thinners for some patients. It is a tiny mesh tool that is implanted in the heart to close off an area called the left atrial appendage, the most common site where harmful blood clots can form. The device prevents these clots from entering the bloodstream, traveling to the brain and causing a stroke. The procedure takes about an hour and patients typically return home the next day. Most patients are able to stop taking blood thinners after 45 days.

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute physicians have been implanting the WATCHMAN™ Device for the last eight years in clinical trials testing the device, which received Food and Drug Administration approval in March.

Are you a candidate for the WATCHMAN™ Device?
– Do you have A-fib?
– Are you at an increased risk for stroke?
– Are you able to take warfarin (anticoagulants or blood thinners)?
– Do you have reason to seek a non-pharmacologic alternative?
If you answered “yes” to each question, the WATCHMAN™ Device may be an effective treatment for you.
To schedule a consultation, call 855-546-1056
Learn more