New technology can dramatically improve the care model for patients at risk for stroke
(Bryn Mawr, PA) – Bryn Mawr Hospital, part of Main Line Health’s Lankenau Heart Institute, is the first hospital in Pennsylvania to offer patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) an alternative to long-term warfarin medication with the newly approved WATCHMAN™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Implant, from developer Boston Scientific.
“This tool provides physicians with a breakthrough stroke risk reduction option for appropriate patients,” said Sheetal Chandhok, MD, Bryn Mawr Hospital cardiologist, part of the Lankenau Heart Institute, who performed the first percutaneous implant of the WATCHMAN device in Pennsylvania. “The WATCHMAN device offers a potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment option which could free patients from the challenges of long-term warfarin therapy.”
The WATCHMAN device is indicated for patients who have an appropriate rationale from their physician to seek a non-medical alternative to warfarin, taking into account the safety and effectiveness of the device compared to warfarin.”
The WATCHMAN LAAC Implant closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA) to keep harmful blood clots from entering the blood stream 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 addition of the Watchman device further expands the treatment options we can offer to our patients with structural heart disease,” adds Steven Rothman, MD, Campus Chief, Cardiovascular Disease, Lankenau Medical Center. “With the expertise offered by our physicians at Lankenau Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Paoli Hospital and Riddle Hospital, the Lankenau Heart Institute team continues to provide our patients with innovative solutions for their heart health needs.”
AF is a heart condition where the upper chambers of the heart beat too fast and with irregular rhythm. People with AF have a five times greater risk of stroke. It can cause blood to pool and form clots in the LAA. For patients with non-valvular AF, the LAA is believed to be the source of the majority of stroke-causing blood clots, and if a clot forms in the LAA, it can increase one’s risk of having a stroke. Blood clots can also break loose and travel in the blood stream to the brain, lungs, and other parts of the body.
The WATCHMAN device is indicated for patients who have an appropriate rationale from their physician to seek a non-medical alternative to warfarin, taking into account the safety and effectiveness of the device compared to 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. The WATCHMAN Implant has been approved in Europe since 2005 and is FDA-approved in the United States. It has been implanted in more than 10,000 patients and is approved in more than 70 countries around the world.
About Boston Scientific
Boston Scientific is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices that are used in a broad range of interventional medical specialties.