A stroke is an urgent medical condition that occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted or reduced. This lack of blood deprives the brain cells of oxygen, leading to cell death.
The aftermath of a stroke can be devastating. Thus, preventing strokes is a significant focus for many healthcare professionals and their patients.
Premier Cardiology Consultants provides top-level cardiology services to individuals of all ages in and around New York City. Read why our team may recommend the WATCHMAN™ procedure to prevent your risk of stroke caused by clots forming in the heart.
Atrial fibrillation and its connection to strokes
Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is the most common type of arrhythmia, causing the upper heart chambers to beat irregularly or too fast. A-fib can also cause blood to pool in a small pouch-like area in the upper heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA).
Strokes occur when blood flow to the brain is disrupted, often caused by clots formed in the heart. Blood pooling in the LAA (related to A-fib) greatly increases the risk of clot formation. Studies show that people with A-fib are five times more likely to develop a stroke.
What is the WATCHMAN procedure?
The WATCHMAN procedure is a minimally invasive treatment designed to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. The procedure involves implanting a small medical device in the LAA.
Once in place, the WATCHMAN opens like a small umbrella, acting as a barrier to prevent blood clots from forming in the LAA and traveling to the brain.
Benefits of the WATCHMAN procedure
The best candidates for WATCHMAN are individuals with non-valvular A-fib who are at high risk of stroke and may not be ideal candidates for long-term anticoagulant therapy.
Health benefits of the WATCHMAN procedure include:
Reduction in stroke risk
The WATCHMAN device effectively prevents strokes in patients with A-fib, offering results comparable to warfarin therapy (blood thinners).
Avoidance of long-term anticoagulant use
One of the significant benefits of the WATCHMAN procedure is providing an alternative to long-term blood thinner use. Notably, our team may prescribe blood thinners for several weeks to months after the procedure until tissue has formed over the device.
Reduced bleeding risk
The WATCHMAN can reduce the risk of bleeding, a common side effect of blood thinners. Because activities are often curtailed when taking blood thinners, since even a minor bump can cause significant bleeding, many individuals enjoy greater freedom after the procedure.
Your specialist performs the WATCHMAN procedure via a small puncture-like incision in the groin, using advanced imaging technology to guide the device into position.
The WATCHMAN device is designed for permanency, remaining in place after a one-time implant procedure.
Stroke prevention is a critical consideration for individuals with atrial fibrillation. Schedule an evaluation at Premier Cardiology Consultants today to determine if WATCHMAN is right for you.