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Cutting-edge Watchman procedure used to correct A-Fib

Posted: 9:45 PM, Mar 22, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-27 21:27:49-04

Nearly 3 million Americans have a condition known as A-Fib.

That stands for arterial fibrillation and if you have it, you’re at a greater risk for having a stroke.

The treatment was used for the first time at Christus Spohn Shoreline Hospital earlier this week.

The so-called Watchman procedure was employed on Tuesday.

A-Fib affects the electrical activity of the heart to the point where it causes the blood to pump slowly.

The action can form blood clots that can travel out of the heart and into the brain, causing a stroke.

Blood thinners are the most common treatment, but not everyone can take them.

It’s those type of patients who are candidates for the Watchman procedure.

It is very similar to the implementation of a stint.

Doctors at Spohn Shoreline use a tube to insert it through a vein in your thigh and into your heart.

“This device has a membrane on it,” interventional cardiologist Dr. Travis Taylor said. “It looks a little bit like a cocktail umbrella and it plugs that hole so to say, so blood clots can’t form there and be ejected throughout the rest of the body.”

Spohn Shoreline is the only hospital performing the procedure.

While it sounds very high tech and complication, the procedure takes about an hour.

The three patients who underwent the procedure on Tuesday were discharged from the hospital and home on Wednesday.

The Watchman procedure is a one-time treatment.

The device is permanent and doesn’t have to be replaced.