Heart image showing Watchman device inserted

Innovative WATCHMAN Procedure at Bayhealth Offers Hope for AFib Sufferers

Monday, September 27, 2021 | Heart & Vascular
For those who suffer from atrial fibrillation, hope is here at Bayhealth. Bayhealth Interventional Cardiologist Manjeet Singh, DO, performed the first implants of the next-generation WATCHMAN FLX™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) device on two patients at Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus. Built upon the most studied and implanted LAAC device in the world, this procedure safely and effectively treats patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation, or AFib—the type that isn’t caused by a heart valve problem. The condition can lead to blood clots, stroke or heart failure when left untreated. The ground-breaking WATCHMAN procedure lessens stroke risk and can be an alternative to the lifelong use of blood thinners. 

Up to 6 million Americans are estimated to be affected by AFib – an irregular heartbeat that feels like a quivering heart. According to the American Heart Association and National Stroke Association, people with AFib have a five times greater risk of stroke than those with normal heart rhythms. The WATCHMAN FLX device closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA) to keep harmful blood clots that can form in the LAA from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke. The device is implanted through a catheter-based procedure, which means it is minimally invasive and does not require open-heart surgery. Its design ensures the best long-term outcomes. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking their blood thinner, such as warfarin. 

"The WATCHMAN FLX device serves as a safe and effective stroke risk reduction option for patients with non-valvular AFib, especially those with a compelling reason not to be on blood thinners,” said Dr. Singh. “I’m proud to have performed the first of these procedures at Bayhealth. Expanding upon our delivery of innovative techniques for heart and vascular care, it offers a potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment and will allow us to treat a broader range of patients going forward.” 

The WATCHMAN technology has been implanted in more than 150,000 patients worldwide and is done in a one-time procedure. It’s a permanent device that doesn’t have to be replaced and can’t be seen outside the body. The procedure is done under general anesthesia and takes about an hour. Patients commonly stay in the hospital overnight and leave the next day.

Speak to your cardiologist to see if you may be a candidate for the WATCHMAN procedure. Visit Bayhealth.org/WATCHMAN to learn more. 

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