Heart and Vascular team

200th WATCHMAN Minimally-Invasive Heart Procedure Performed at Bayhealth

Monday, March 4, 2024 | Heart & Vascular
Bayhealth recently celebrated a major milestone in its Heart & Vascular program. Interventional Cardiologist Manjeet Singh, DO, performed the 200th WATCHMAN procedure at Bayhealth’s Kent Campus on February 19, 2024.

The WATCHMAN FLX™ Pro Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) device is designed to reduce stroke risk and serve as an alternative to the lifelong use of blood thinners for people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem. It closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA) to keep harmful blood clots from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke. 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.

“My team and I are proud to have performed the 200th implant of this device technology at Bayhealth, as it offers another patient a potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment,” stated Dr. Singh. “That’s over 200 patients in our region whose lives have been changed because this procedure is available right here at Bayhealth.”

An estimated seven million Americans are estimated to be affected by AFib – an irregular heartbeat that can feel like a quivering heart. According to the American Heart Association, AFib doubles the risk of heart-related death and is associated with a five times greater risk of stroke than those with normal heart rhythms.

One of those patients, 83-year-old Roger Kelsey of Smyrna, Delaware, is the 200th patient to receive the WATCHMAN implant at Bayhealth. Kelsey has been on a blood thinner for his AFib for many years and has had previous invasive cardiac procedures. He and his wife Sigrid heard about the WATCHMAN procedure from his cardiologist who referred them to Dr. Singh to learn more.

“Because I have been on blood thinners for so long, I started to bruise very easily and have pretty bad nosebleeds that required ambulance trips to the emergency department because neither we nor the EMTs could get them to stop,” explains Kelsey. “After the most recent trip to the hospital, we knew it was time to do something about it, and here we are. I’m ready to stop taking the blood thinners altogether, and no offense, but I’d rather not visit the emergency room anytime again soon.”

“WATCHMAN was an excellent option for Mr. Kelsey,” explains Dr. Singh. “Immediately following this procedure, he was able to discontinue his blood thinners, replacing them with just one aspirin per day.”

The WATCHMAN technology has been implanted to treat more than 400,000 patients
worldwide. This permanent device does not have to be replaced and cannot 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.

Now, just a couple of weeks after his procedure, Mr. Kelsey is happy to be off blood thinners and recovering well at home.

Speak to your cardiologist to see if you may be a candidate for the WATCHMAN procedure. Visit Bayhealth.org/Services/Heart-and-Vascular/Treatment-Options/Watchman to learn more.

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