The Watchman Device to Prevent Strokes

The Watchman Device
In March 2015 FDA approved the use of the Watchman Device which is inserted via a leg vein into the small chamber of the heart called left atrium. It is meant to prevent blood clots from escaping from the chamber and causing a stroke. It will be used in patients with a heart rhythm problem called atrial fibrillation who would otherwise be on Warfarin or another strong blood thinner. The hope is that it will then not be necessary to take blood thinners with their attendant risks and inconvenience. The Methodist Hospital in Houston where I admit patients is the only hospital in town that has the facility to undertake this operation for now.

One the one hand it is a useful device and will free the patient from potentially harmful medications, it has it’w own risk while placing such as bleeding, damage to the heart, dislodgement. ┬áIt remains to be seen how successful it will be in the long run.

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