Patient Successfully Implanted With Ellis' First WATCHMAN Device
Friday, July 20, 2018
Permanent heart implant is the only FDA-approved device for the reduction of stroke risk in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Dr. Steven Giovannone, Dr. Satish Madiraju and Dr. Leslie Parikh performed Ellis Hospital’s first implant of the WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Device on a patient with atrial fibrillation (AF). The hospital is one of the first in New York State to offer the WATCHMAN device as an alternative to the lifelong use of warfarin for people with AF not caused by a heart valve problem (also known as non-valvular AF).
The first implant of the WATCHMAN at Ellis, performed on July 19, serves as a timely reminder of the increased risk of stroke among people living with AF. An estimated 5 million Americans are affected by AF – an irregular heartbeat that feels like a quivering heart. People with AF have a five times greater risk of stroke (1) than those with normal heart rhythms. The WATCHMAN 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. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking warfarin.
“The WATCHMAN device is a novel alternative for patients with non-valvular AF at risk for a stroke, especially those with a compelling reason not to be on blood thinners,” said Dr. Steven Giovannone. “I’m proud to have performed Ellis’ first implant alongside my colleagues Dr. Parikh and Dr. Madiraju, as it offers another patient potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment.”
The WATCHMAN device has been implanted in more than 50,000 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.
“People with atrial fibrillation are at significant risk of stroke, which can have a serious emotional and psychological effect on them,” said Mellanie True Hills, founder and chief executive officer, StopAfib.org, a patient advocacy organization for those living with Afib. “Thus it is important for them to be aware of and understand recent medical advances and treatments that can help with stroke prevention.”
More About Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a heart condition where the upper chambers of the heart (atrium) beat too fast and with irregular rhythm (fibrillation). AF is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, currently affecting more than 5 million Americans.(2) Twenty percent of all strokes occur in patients with AF, and AF-related strokes are more frequently fatal and disabling.(3) (4) The most common treatment to reduce stroke risk in patients with AF is blood-thinning warfarin medication. Despite its proven efficacy, long-term warfarin medication is not well-tolerated by some patients and carries a significant risk for bleeding complications. Nearly half of AF patients eligible for warfarin are currently untreated due to tolerance and adherence issues.(5)
About Ellis Medicine
Ellis Medicine is a 438-bed community and teaching healthcare system serving New York’s Capital Region. With four campuses — Ellis Hospital, McClellan Street Health Center, Bellevue Woman’s Center and Medical Center of Clifton Park — five additional service locations, 3,300-plus employees and more than 700 members of its medical staff, Ellis Medicine is proud to provide a lifetime of care for patients. Ellis offers an extensive array of inpatient and outpatient services — including cardiac, cancer, emergency, neuroscience, and women’s services.
1. Holmes DR, Seminars in Neurology 2010; 30:528–536
2. Colilla et al., Am J Cardiol. 2013; 112:1142-1147
3. Hart RG, Halperin JL., Ann Intern Med. 1999; 131:688–695
4. McGrath ER, Neurology 2013; 81:825-832
5. Waldo, AL. JACC 2005; 46:1729-1736
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