A New, Minimally Invasive Treatment for AFib
More than 6 million Americans are affected by atrial fibrillation, or AFib. It’s one of the most common irregular heartbeat conditions that causes a person’s heart to beat too fast.
When left untreated, AFib can dislodge a blood clot and cause a stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AFib causes about 1 in 7 strokes, and they’re often more severe than strokes from other causes.
Blood thinners are frequently used as a long-term treatment option for AFib. However, the expert heart care team at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center now offers a new treatment for AFib, the WATCHMAN™ heart implant. The implant is placed during a one-time, minimally invasive procedure and lowers the risk of bleeding and stroke in AFib patients.
“We’re giving patients a new option to manage their AFib and take control of their lives,” said Pirooz Mofrad, MD, medical director of Electrophysiology at White Oak Medical Center.
How WATCHMAN Works
The WATCHMAN procedure is very safe and takes less than an hour.
The cardiologist uses a sliding tube, called a catheter, to place the WATCHMAN implant, which looks like a little umbrella, into the left atrial appendage of the heart, where blood clots can form in people with AFib. The device closes the left atrial appendage of the heart and prevents a blood clot from forming and escaping, traveling to another part of the body and blocking blood supply to the brain, causing a stroke.
WATCHMAN patients often stay overnight at the hospital for observation and return home the next day.
Why Choose WATCHMAN
Anyone on blood thinners for AFib for an extended time is aware of the bleeding risks that come with this treatment, and the limitations the risks can place on their lives. With a minimally invasive treatment option, such as WATCHMAN, patients often experience a faster recovery and can more quickly return to the activities they love.
“After the WATCHMAN procedure, a patient’s quality of life can improve,” Dr. Mofrad said. “With WATCHMAN you don’t experience the limitations or restrictions you do with other treatment options.”