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Front Page - Friday, March 15, 2019

Watchman procedure now available at CHI Memorial

The Watchman is an alternative to the lifelong use of anticoagulants for people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem. - Image provided

CHI Memorial and The Chattanooga Heart Institute are offering a new procedure to treat atrial fibrillation. The Watchman device is an alternative to the lifelong use of anticoagulants for people with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem (also known as non-valvular AFib).

The Watchman device closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage 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 might be reduced and patients might eventually be able to stop taking anticoagulants.

An estimated 5 million Americans are affected by AFib – an irregular heartbeat that feels like a quivering heart, says CHI Memorial in a news release. People with AFib have a five times greater risk of stroke than those with normal heart rhythms, the release says.

“I’m proud this revolutionary procedure is now available at CHI Memorial because it offers people in the Chattanooga community potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment,” says Kelly Richardson, M.D., cardiologist at The Chattanooga Heart Institute.

The Watchman has been implanted in more than 50,000 patients worldwide and is 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.

Source: CHI Memorial