New Procedure Can Replace Coumadin in Some Patients with Atrial Fibrillation

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March 28, 2017

North Memorial Health cardiologists will soon offer an innovative one-time procedure that reduces the risk of stroke in non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) patients who are unable to tolerate long-term warfarin use.

The WATCHMANâ„¢ Implant closes off the left atrial appendage (LAA), preventing blood clots from migrating out of it. The LAA is where over 90 percent of stroke-causing clots originate in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Candidates for the WATCHMANâ„¢ Implant:

  • Have non-valvular atrial fibrillation
  • Have increased risk for stroke (CHADS > 2 or CHDS2Vasc > 3)
  • Are suitable for short-term warfarin use (about 45 days post-procedure)
  • Have an appropriate reason to seek a non-pharmacologic alternative to warfarin (high fall risk, recurrent bleeds, etc.).

The hour-long procedure will be performed under general anesthesia in the North Memorial Catheterization Lab. Patients typically stay in the hospital overnight.  For information on referring patients for the procedure at North Memorial, contact the North Memorial Heart & Vascular program at (763) 581-5403.