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Watchman

Watchman-DeviceTo learn more about Watchman, or to be referred to a physician who can offer the WATCHMAN procedure at MountainView Hospital, please call: Adnea, WATCHMAN coordinator at (702) 962-2464 or adena.burgess@hcahealthcare.com

MountainView Hospital was among the first hospitals in the region to offer patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) an alternative to long-term warfarin medication with the newly approved Boston Scientific WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Device. This implant is a first-of-its-kind, proven alternative to long-term warfarin therapy for stroke-risk reduction in patients with non-vavluar atrial fibrillation (AF)1.

The WATCHMAN Device is intended for percutaneous, transcatheter closure of the left atrial appendage (LAA). Patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation who are at increased risk for stroke and systemic embolism, are suitable for warfarin and seek a non-pharmacologic alternative to warfarin may be eligible for a WATCHMAN Device. By closing off the LAA, a thin, sack-like appendix arising from the left side of the heart that is believed to be the source of a majority of stroke-causing blood clots in people with non-valvular AF, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking warfarin.

Fulfilling A Need

Non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) is an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. AF is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, currently affecting more than five million Americans.2 Patients with AF have a five-fold increased risk of stroke due to blood stagnating from the improperly beating atrium and the resulting blood clot formation.3 Stroke is more severe for patients with AF, as they have a 70% chance of death or permanent disability.3 The most common treatment for stroke risk reduction in patients with AF is blood-thinning warfarin therapy. Despite its proven efficacy, long-term warfarin therapy is not well-tolerated by some patients and carries a significant risk for bleeding complications. Nearly half of patients eligible for warfarin are currently untreated due to tolerance and adherence issues.4

Clinical Study Results

The WATCHMAN Device can be implanted safely5, enables patients to discontinue warfarin6 and reduces AF stroke risk comparably to warfarin7. In addition, the WATCHMAN Device demonstrated statistically superior reductions in hemorrhagic stroke, disabling stroke and cardiovascular death compared to warfarin over long-term follow-up8:

  • 85% in hemorrhagic stroke
  • 63% in disabling stroke
  • 56% in cardiovascular death

Implant Procedure

Implanting the WATCHMAN Device is a one-time procedure that usually lasts about an hour and is typically conducted with general anesthesia. The WATCHMAN Device is implanted through a femoral access via a trans-septal approach by using a catheter-based delivery system. The device is designed to permanently close off the LAA, believed to be the source of a majority of stroke-causing blood clots,1 and thereby avoid the migration of emboli to the brain. Following the procedure, patients typically need to stay in the hospital for 24 hours.

Information provided by Boston Scientific Corporation

  1. Blackshear J. and Odell J., Annals of Thoracic Surgery. 1996;61:755-759
  2. Colilla et al., Am J Cardiol. 2013; 112:1142-1147
  3. Holmes DR, Seminars in Neurology 2010; 30:528–536
  4. Waldo, AL. JACC 2005; 46:1729-1736
  5. PROTECT AF, CAP, PREVAIL and CAP2
  6. PROTECT AF, CAP, PREVAIL
  7. PROTECT AF
  8. PROTECT AF. Relative risk reductions in hemorrhagic stroke and CV death at 5 yrs, disabling stroke at 4 yrs