ST. LOUIS – After years as a leading enrollment site for the clinical trials, doctors at Mercy Hospital St. Louis are the first in St. Louis to offer all appropriate atrial fibrillation patients an alternative to warfarin therapy for stroke prevention with the newly FDA-approved Watchman® Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device.
The Watchman® Device is designed to keep harmful blood clots from entering the patient’s blood stream, causing a stroke. Patients with atrial fibrillation, the most common heart-rhythm disorder affecting more than 5 million people worldwide, are at an increased risk of stroke because blood can pool in the left atrial appendage ultimately forming clots.
Typically patients with A-Fib take blood thinning medications, such as warfarin, for life to prevent clots from forming in the heart. These medications require frequent monitoring and have diet and other drug interactions causing compliance issues. In trials, the Watchman® Device was shown to decrease strokes at least as effectively as blood thinners.
“During Watchman clinical trials, we were able to help many AFib patients free themselves from a lifetime of blood thinners and the complications that come with them,” said Dr. Anthony Sonn, interventional cardiologist with Mercy Clinic Heart and Vascular. “FDA approval means we can now offer this option to all AFib patients, helping even more.”
The procedure to implant the WATCHMAN® Device into the heart is done via a flexible tube (catheter) through a vein in the groin. It’s designed to prevent blood flow into the left atrial appendage reducing the risk of stroke and eliminating the need for long term use of blood thinning medications.
For more information, speak with your doctor or call the Mercy Heart Access line at 1-855-MERCY-00 (1-855-637-2900) or visit www.mercy.net/heart for more information.