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New Device Can Prevent Strokes In AFib Patients

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Posted by Brian O'Neill, MD

For many patients with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem, a daily regimen of the blood thinner warfarin is prescribed. Now, the Temple Heart and Vascular Institute is offering a game changing alternative.

The WATCHMAN™ device, a small implant positioned within the left atrial appendage of the heart, a space where 90 percent of blood clots form, is FDA approved to prevent strokes and available at the Temple Heart and Vascular Institute.

According to the device’s manufacturer, Boston Scientific, the FDA approval of the WATCHMAN Device is based on a robust clinical program which includes multiple studies, with more than 2,400 patients and nearly 6,000 patient-years of follow-up. The WATCHMAN clinical program provided strong evidence that the device can be implanted safely and reduces the risk of stroke in eligible patients while enabling most patients to discontinue warfarin.

People with AFib often face the lifelong use of blood thinners to reduce their risk of stroke. WATCHMAN is a one-time procedure with a proven safety record that offers an alternative to the lifelong use of warfarin for people with non-valvular AFib. This permanent heart implant effectively reduces the risk of stroke — without the risk of bleeding that can come with the long-term use of warfarin (the most common blood thinner). It can also eliminate the regular blood tests and food-and-drink restrictions that come with warfarin (which is also known as Coumadin®.)

In a clinical trial, 9 out of 10 people were able to stop taking warfarin just 45 days after having the WATCHMAN procedure. More than 30,000 patients have had the procedure.

As practitioners of advanced cardiac care, Temple Heart and Vascular Institute physicians offer the WATCHMAN procedure to their patients who meet the criteria for the device implantation. It’s just another way that Temple brings its patients the most state-of-the-art treatments for all types of heart disease.

Brian O'Neill, MD

Dr. O’Neill is an accomplished interventional cardiologist with extensive clinical and research experience. He has particular experience in developing special procedures and techniques to allow minimally invasive treatment of patients who are considered too high risk for open-heart procedures.

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