Physicians at DCH Offering Device that Reduces Stroke Risk for Life
Physicians partnering with Tuscaloosa's DCH Health System are now offering a procedure to insert a device that reportedly reduces the risk of stroke in some patients for life.
Andy North, the Vice President of Communications for the System, said the newly available technology is called the Watchman Device.
Non-valvular atrial fibrillation, or Afib, is characterized by irregular, often rapid heart rhythm, which can lead to blood pooling and clotting in the heart's left atrium. Those clots can often travel to the brain and cause dangerous and permanently damaging strokes.
North said Afib has long been treated with blood thinners, which are often prescribed for life and come with their own set of risks and side effects, but the Watchman Device offers a new, lifelong solution.
"The Watchman Device is essentially a little basket or filter that is placed at the entrance to the left atrial appendage," North wrote. "The basket prevents blood from pooling in the appendage which reduces the chances of clots forming and passing to other more vulnerable areas of the body."
The procedure to insert a Watchman Device is minimally invasive, North said, and is currently offered by three physicians working with DCH -- Amit Shah, MD, Vishal Dahya, MD and Nada Memon, MD.
“The Watchman device offers a simple yet elegant solution to certain atrial fibrillation patients whose lifestyle, job or health condition puts them at a significantly increased risk for major bleeding,” Shah said. “This minimally-invasive procedure allows individuals with this condition to live with less anxiety as it reduces the risk of bleeding from blood thinners or stroke from a clot.”
Patients considering the procedure should consult their cardiologist and reach out to the DCH Health System to learn more.