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A Better Way to Reduce Stroke Risk for Some AFIB Patients

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 Srinivas Iyengar, MD, 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.

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

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

Boulder Heart is proud to offer patients the WATCHMAN FLX™ Pro Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Device. Dr. Iyengar's team at Foothills Hospital was the first in Colorado (full market release) to implant this next-generation, updated device with three new features that advance performance and safety and ensure the best long-term outcomes. These features include a permanent device coating to promote faster healing time, an additional device size to treat the widest range of anatomies, and visualization markers to position and anchor the device with an enhanced level of accuracy. This technology is built upon the most studied and implanted LAAC device in the world.

“I’m very proud to have performed one of the first implants of the WATCHMAN FLX Pro in Colorado at our facility, Foothills Hospital,” says Dr. Iyengar. “This latest-generation WATCHMAN device offers my patients a potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment and will allow us to treat a broad range of patients thanks to the expanded size matrix.”

For 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. Overall procedure time for the WATCHMAN is around 45 minutes. With the procedure taking less than an hour, patients are not under anesthesia for a long time.


Why Choose Foothills Hospital and Boulder Heart?

Dr. Srinivas IyengarAll WATCHMAN procedures are performed by Dr. Srinivas Iyengar, Director of Structural Heart & Inverventional Cardiology. 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. In addition, Dr. Iyengar has a 100% success rate for WATCHMAN implantation and is the highest volume Interventional Cardiologist in Colorado implanting WATCHMAN.

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.

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

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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