From an interview with
Dr. Prabal Guha
McLeod Cardiology Associates
If you feel your heart speed up without warning, you may have Atrial Fibrillation. Sometimes medication can help you. If medications don’t work, McLeod Electrophysiologist Dr. Prabal Guha says a new version of the Watchman device might reduce the danger of a stroke.
Here is a summary of Dr. Guha’s comments:
The most important thing in atrial fibrillation is the risk of having a stroke. On the top of the heart is an appendage, where blood can pool and form a clot, which can break loose and cause a stroke.
If we give a patient blood thinners, the blood won’t clot and the person can be protected against a stroke. But some people are not able to take blood thinners. They can have bleeding issues or some other complication. In those cases, we turn to the Watchman, a device that we put inside the heart. We try to block off this appendage. It doesn’t allow the blood to get into the pocket and prevents clotting. Most of the clots form in the appendage, so if we can get a Watchman situated properly and have it completely blocked, it significantly reduces the risk of having a stroke in a patient with atrial fibrillation.
The Watchman implant uses very small tubes. We go in from the leg into a large blood vessel, and we come up into the heart. In the heart, we go to the left side and position the tube in the appendage, and then slowly we can release the Watchman device. It basically takes the shape of the appendage and blocks it off.
The “Watchman Flex” is a newer shaped device. Instead of prongs on the end, the new Watchman has a complete ball-shaped structure. With this new design, we can offer it in more sizes. The newer version allows us to place many more hooks on the device to stabilize it in the appendage and prevent it from slipping out.
The newer generation is a very innovative device. It actually makes it definitely safer for the procedure and much more versatile.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
If you are experiencing occasional, irregular or very fast heart beats, see a Cardiologist and ask about the Watchman option.
Find a cardiologist near you.