Medical City Dallas October 12, 2015

New FDA-Approved Alternative Provides Better, Long-Term Results for Patients with Non-Valvular Atrial Fibrillation and High Risk of Stroke

Medical City Dallas is the first hospital in Dallas County to offer the new FDA-Approved WATCHMAN LAA Closure Device for cardiovascular patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). A Medical City patient successfully received this implanted device on Friday, October 9.

Atrial fibrillation, or AF, is the most common arrhythmia that affects 2.5 million Americans, especially those more than 65 years old. People with AF have a five times greater risk of stroke. The WATCHMAN Implant offers a new stroke risk reduction option for high-risk patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation who have reason to seek a non-drug alternative to long-term warfarin therapy. Despite its proven effectiveness, 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.

“The new WATCHMAN LAAC Implant provides physicians with a breakthrough stroke risk reduction option for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation,” said Rejeev Joshi, MD, electrophysiologist at Medical City Dallas Hospital.  “For patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation who are seeking an alternative to warfarin, the WATCHMAN Implant offers a potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment option which could free them from the challenges of long-term warfarin therapy.”

The WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure Implant consists of a delivery catheter and a device that is permanently implanted in the left atrial appendage of the heart. The device, often referred to as the WATCHMAN, closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA) and prevents harmful stroke-causing blood clots from entering the bloodstream. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking warfarin. Implanting the WATCHMAN device is a one-time procedure that usually lasts about an hour. Following the procedure, patients typically need to stay in the hospital for 24 hours.

If you would like to find out more information or make an appointment with a physician specializing in the WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure Implant, please contact Medical City Dallas' Heart and Vascular Services department at (972) 566-7422.