WVU Heart and Vascular Institute cardiologists are the first physicians in the state to implant the WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure Implant, a new treatment for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. This therapy is the only treatment for patients who previously did not have an option to reduce the risk of stroke in atrial fibrillation.
Twenty percent of all strokes occur in patients with AF, and AF-related strokes are more frequently fatal and disabling. For patients with AF who are at risk for stroke but are unsuitable for blood thinners, the WATCHMAN implant is an alternative to reduce their risk of AF-related stroke. It closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA) to keep harmful blood clots from forming in the LAA and potentially causing a stroke. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke is reduced and, over time, patients stop taking blood-thinning medication.
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.