LIMA — Mercy Health-St. Rita’s is now offering a new alternative treatment for those with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF).
The first facility in a 10-county area to offer this alternative, Mercy Health-St. Rita’s will begin to offer AF patients the newly approved WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) implant. The device closes off the left atrial appendage of the heart to keep potentially harmful blood clots in that area from entering the blood stream. Once those clots are in the blood stream, they can put that patient at risk of a stroke. Current treatment for LAAC features a long-term regiment of warfarin, a blood thinning anti-coagulant. Using this implant could allow these patients to stop taking this medication.
The procedure to implant the WATCHMAN device usually lasts about an hour with patients typically required to remain in the hospital for 24 hours afterward.