JACKSONVILLE - Memorial Hospital announced Friday that it will be the first hospital in Northeast Florida to offer the Watchman™ device, a new stroke risk reduction option and an alternative to long-term warfarin therapy for patients with atrial fibrillation or AFib.
The Watchman™ device is implanted through the leg using a catheter-based system. The device is designed to permanently close off the Left Atrial Appendage (LAA), believed to be the source of a majority of stroke-causing blood clots.
“We are proud to introduce this technology to AFib patients in Jacksonville,” said Electrophysiologist Aaditya Vora, MD. “This is a potentially life-changing treatment option that allows those who may not be suitable for long-term warfarin therapy to have an alternative option.”
Implanting the Watchman™ device is a one-time procedure that usually lasts about an hour and is typically conducted with general anesthesia. Following the procedure, patients typically stay in the hospital 24 hours and, over time, some can discontinue long-term warfarin therapy.
“This is a break-through option for AFib patients who are at an increased risk for stroke,” said Debbie Stiffler, Cardiovascular Service Line Director. “Memorial is proud to add another treatment option for patients suffering from non-valvular AFib.”
According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 2.7 million Americans are living with AFib, a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.
Memorial began offering the procedure to patients in mid-March.
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