Veronica R. Chiesi Brown
Rochester Regional Health’s Sands Constellation Heart Institute is among the first in western New York State to offer patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF), an alternative to long-term medication with the WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Implant.
Implantation of the WATCHMAN device, a catheter-delivered heart implant performed without surgery, permanently closes a small pouch in the heart called the left atrial appendage. This pouch is responsible for the majority of strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation (Afib).
Patients who suffer from atrial fibrillation, an irregular and often rapid heart rate, are at a significantly higher risk of stroke due to blood clots forming in the left atrial appendage. According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 3 to 6 million Americans are living with AFib; approximately one-third will suffer a stroke. People with Afib are often treated with blood thinners to reduce the risk of stroke but blood thinners also increase the risk of serious or life-threatening bleeding. WATCHMAN was approved by the FDA in March 2015 and is a permanent alternative for patients whom blood thinners are not a viable long-term option.
“We are proud to offer this minimally invasive and permanent solution for our patients with atrial fibrillation,” said Rochester Regional Health cardiologist Jeremiah Depta, MD, MPHS, FACC. “We already have multiple patients scheduled for the procedure, and are very excited about its potential use in patients that cannot be maintained on blood thinners.”
Patients will typically return home the day after the one-hour procedure, and more than 90% will be able to stop using blood thinners within two months.
Rochester Regional Health is an integrated health services organization serving the people of Western New York, the Finger Lakes and beyond. The system provides care at 150 locations, including five hospitals; more than 100 primary and specialty practices, rehabilitation centers and ambulatory campuses; innovative senior services, facilities and independent housing; a wide range of behavioral health services; and ACM Medical Laboratory, a global leader in patient and clinical trials. Learn more at rochesterregionalhealth.org.