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How WATCHMAN Works: Dr. Srinivas Iyengar, Patient Testimonials

  • Category: General, Cardiology
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Boulder Community Health

Wondering if a WATCHMAN device may be an option to reduce your atrial-fibrillation-related stroke risk? Learn how WATCHMAN works, and who qualifies for it, from Boulder Heart cardiologist Srinivas Iyengar, MD. "I am so relieved now, knowing everything is under control," says recent patient Eloise St. Jean in her testimonial in the video below. To learn more and schedule an assessment, call 303-415-8898.

Video transcript:
“My name is Dr. Srinivas Iyengar. I'm the Structural Heart director here at Boulder Community Health (BCH). Today I'd like to talk about some of the cutting-edge innovative procedures we're currently doing here in Boulder, Colorado.

One of them is called the WATCHMAN procedure. This is a procedure for patients who have a history of atrial fibrillation and elevated risk of stroke and who cannot tolerate long-term blood-thinning medication.

When blood swirls it can coagulate, or thicken. There is one part of the heart call the left atrial appendage. When blood coagulates, it can stay into that area and actually form a clot. In patients with atrial fibrillation, there might be a chance a clot can break off and go to the brain and cause a stroke.”

watchman patient with daughter“I had a couple of episodes of AFib. I get real sweaty I get real dizzy,” says recent WATCHMAN patient Rickie Hall.

“The standard of care for patients who have atrial fibrillation and an elevated risk of stroke should be blood thinners,” says Dr. Iyengar.

“I always had to take Coumadin, or warfarin or … they tried everything,” says Eloise St. Jean, another patient who recently had the WATCHMAN device implanted at Boulder Community Health’s Foothills Hospital.

“Unfortunately, she could not tolerate her blood-thinning medication. She had numerous side effects including excessive bleeding,” says Dr. Iyengar. “They couldn't get it stopped,” St. Jean says. St. Jean’s age also meant she had an elevated risk for stroke, Dr. Iyengar added.

“WATCHMAN is an amazing alternative for patients who cannot take blood-thinning medication. Currently in Boulder County, Boulder Community Health is the only medical institution performing this procedure. The WATCHMAN procedure is a minimally invasive procedure where we deliver a device on a catheter through the vein in the groin come up to the heart and place the WATCHMAN into the appendage, where it sits permanently and actually prevents any blood from getting into the appendage or coming out, thereby preventing a stroke from happening,” Dr. Iyengar says.

“This procedure typically takes 20 to 30 minutes, is minimally invasive and patients are generally discharged within
24 hours the procedure,” he says.

“The recovery was really, really easy,” says Hall. “I didn't even know it was done,” says St. Jean. It is the simplest thing I have ever been through.”

“Commercial insurance, Medicare, most of these entities cover WATCHMAN procedures. More important, we can get you off the blood-thinning medication and we can prevent a stroke from happening in the future,” says Dr. Iyengar.

“Having this procedure made me less worried about having an episode of AFib or having a stroke,” says Hall. “I would tell anybody who has this kind of an episode or any kind of a heart episode where the WATCHMAN would be a good fit for them, that Dr. Iyengar and Boulder Community Health is a wonderful place to go.”

“I am so relieved now to know that everything is under control,” says St. Jean. “Getting WATCHMAN has been fabulous. I feel like there's a WATCHMAN watching after me.”

If you’d like to learn more about WATCHMAN and whether it may be right for you, please call our program coordinator today at 303-415-8898 to schedule an appointment for a screening.