By: Dr. Michael Bailey
Electrophysiologist at Birmingham Heart Clinic
Birmingham Heart Clinic physicians are now utilizing a new approach to reduce atrial fibrillation stroke risk and eliminate the need for blood thinners over time.
The WATCHMAN Implant is catheter-delivered heart implant that is light as a feather and small as a quarter. The one-time procedure takes less than 60 minutes and only requires a 24-hour hospital stay.
Atrial fibrillation causes blood to clot in the left atrial appendage (LAA), which is like a small pouch on the top of your heart. Blood clots can break loose from the LAA and travel to the brain, lungs, and other parts of the body, causing a stroke.
The WATCHMAN Implant is designed to keep these harmful blood clots from escaping the LAA. Made from very light and compact materials, the implant does not have to be replaced and can’t be seen outside the body.
Like blood thinners, the WATCHMAN does not cure atrial fibrillation, but it does offer patients a life-changing alternative to taking daily blood thinners. The WATCHMAN Implant should only be used in patients with:
- Atrial fibrillation (not related to heart valve disease)
- Increased risk for a stroke
- Blood thinning medicines
- An appropriate reason to seek a non-drug alternative to warfarin
If you have a patient who you feel may qualify and benefit from this treatment, call BHC at (205) 856-2284 for more information.