Patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) now have an alternative to long-term warfarin medication therapy.

Deborah was among the first in the region to implant the newly FDA-approved WATCHMAN™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Implant. This is a breakthrough for patients with AF who are suitable for warfarin therapy by their physicians, but who have reason to seek a non-drug alternative. The WATCHMAN™ LAAC Implant is an alternative to reduce the risk of AF-related stroke.

WATCHMANThe WATCHMAN™ Implant closes off the left atrial appendage to keep harmful blood clots within the LAA from entering the bloodstream and potentially causing a stroke. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking warfarin. The implantation is a one-time procedure that usually takes about an hour. Patients generally will stay overnight.

Patients with AF have a five times greater risk of stroke. According to device manufacturer Boston Scientific, in patients with non-valvular AF, the LAA is believed to be the source of the majority of stroke-causing blood clots. If a clot forms in the LAA, it can increase one’s risk of having a stroke when these blood clots break loose and travel to the brain, lungs, and other parts of the body.