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A Better Way to Reduce Stroke Risk for Some Afib Patients

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The WATCHMAN™ device is the only FDA-approved implant proven to reduce stroke risk in people with atrial fibrillation (AFib) that is not caused by a heart valve problem. Boulder Heart's cardiac specialists—led by Dr. Srini Iyengar, one of Colorado's most experienced WATCHMAN physicians—are the only team providing this innovative, minimally invasive procedure in Boulder County, at Foothills Hospital in Boulder.

Atrial Fibrillation & Stroke Risk

Heart diagramPeople with AFib are at a much higher risk of developing a stroke than those with a regular heartbeat. Atrial fibrillation can significantly decrease the heart’s pumping capacity, which increases the risk of clots forming—particularly in the left atrial appendage (LAA), a small sac in the left atrium (the top left heart chamber). If a clot escapes and travels to another part of the body, it may limit blood supply to the brain and cause a stroke.

Reducing Stroke Risk for AFib Patients

Blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin, can be an effective way to reduce stroke risk in AFib patients. However, there are potential barriers for certain individuals—primarily an increased risk of major bleeding, especially for older adults at high risk of falls. Additionally, people who enjoy an active lifestyle may want to avoid long-term use of blood-thinners due to concerns about bleeding in the event they sustain an injury while pursuing a favorite sport or activity.

Finally, long-term use of blood-thinners requires frequent blood tests, dietary restrictions and high prescription costs. The WATCHMAN procedure could be the right alternative for some individuals.

The WATCHMAN Procedure

watchman deviceFor people with AFib, more than 90% of stroke-causing clots are formed in the LAA. In order to close the LAA, your cardiologist will place the device inside the heart through a one-time minimally invasive procedure. A small incision is made in the upper leg and your cardiologist gently guides the device up through a vein, where it permanently seals the opening of the LAA and keeps it from releasing clots.

Both local and general anesthesia may be used during the procedure, which is conducted in the Cath Lab at Foothills Hospital. Most patients are able to go home the next day, with overall recovery averaging two to four days.

To learn more about WATCHMAN or make an appointment,
call 303-415-8898.


Why Choose Foothills Hospital and Boulder Heart?

Dr. Srinivas IyengarAll WATCHMAN procedures are performed by our Structural Heart program director, Dr. Srinivas Iyengar. With more than 100 WATCHMAN procedures successfully completed, Dr. Iyengar is the most experienced cardiologist performing WATCHMAN in the Northern Front Range and Denver metro areas. In fact, Dr. Iyengar has been selected to be Colorado’s only physician certified to teach other cardiologists how to perform WATCHMAN.

To learn more about WATCHMAN or make an appointment,
please call 303-415-8898.

Foothills Hospital is the only hospital in Boulder County to conduct WATCHMAN, along with a handful of hospitals along Colorado’s Front Range and about 100 hospitals across the nation.

BCH offers a full range of cardiology services at our three Boulder Heart clinics, conveniently located across Boulder County in Boulder, Lafayette & Longmont.

Images and video provided courtesy of Boston Scientific. © 2018 Boston Scientific Corporation or its affiliates. All rights reserved. All trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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Important Information

Boulder Community Health is following current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that call for patients and visitors to continue wearing masks at Foothills Hospital and all BCH patient-care facilities.

People 12 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. For updated Vaccine Clinic hours and general vaccine info, please visit our vaccine page.