March 22, 2018 |
Indiana Hospital Offers Stroke Prevention Technology For Afib Patients
January 10, 2017  | 

Indianapolis, IN ­­— Franciscan Health Heart Center is one of the first hospitals in Indiana offering atrial fibrillation (AFib) patients a device that greatly reduces their risk of stroke.

The newly approved Watchman™ Device has been used successfully in five patients at the facility. According to Saeed Shaikh, MC, FACC, FSCAI, the interventional cardiologist who first performed the procedure at the Heart Center, “The device provides physicians with a breakthrough stroke-reduction alternative to treat patients with atrial fibrillation.”

“This advanced technology will be life-changing for many non-valvular atrial fibrillation patients,” he said, “freeing them from not only the dangers of stroke rusk, but also in many cases, [eliminating] the need for long-term blood-thinning medication therapy.”

The increased risk of stroke in AFib patients is due to the potential for blood to pool and clot in the left atrial appendage (LAA) of the heart. Clots that break off from the LAA can cause a stroke.

Blood thinners have been effective for many years at limiting strokes in AFib patients, but can also increase the rate of bleeding. The Watchman™ device is designed to prevent blood clots from forming in the LAA. The one-time, minimally invasive procedure implants the device in the heart, sealing off the LAA, preventing clots from ever entering the bloodstream. Over time, heart tissue grows over the implant, permanently sealing off the LAA.

Franciscan also reports that in 90 percent of cases, patients are able to discontinue use of blood thinners 45 days after the procedure.
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