Published: Mar 18, 2015 11:36 a.m. ET
PHOENIX, AZ, Mar 18, 2015 (Marketwired via COMTEX) — The Arizona Heart Rhythm Center will be the only medical facility in Arizona with access to a new device developed to lower the risk of stroke in patients with an irregular heartbeat who require blood thinning medications. The device, called the Watchman(R) Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device, is an alternative to blood thinners for stroke prevention and has just been approved by the Federal Drug Administration as of March 13, 2015. Manufactured by Boston Scientific, the device is revolutionary for patients with atrial fibrillation, a condition where an abnormal heartbeat causes blood to pool in the upper chambers of the heart, leading to the formation of clots that can break loose, travel to the brain and cause a stroke.
Atrial fibrillation affects more than five million adults in the U.S. alone, and for many of them, blood thinners may cause significant bleeding complications and increase the risk of stroke. In contrast, the Watchman(R), an umbrella mesh-like device, is placed in the heart using a catheter and acts as a safety net, catching potentially deadly blood clots before they can make it to the brain. As it is implanted in the heart through a catheter, this minimally invasive procedure helps reduce pain and expedite healing.
Dr. Vijay Swarup, MD, Director of the Arizona Heart Rhythm Center, has been conducting clinical trials for the past five years, performing the most Watchman(R) device implants of anyone in the nation.
“The FDA’s approval of the Watchman(R) device is a landmark step forward in the treatment of atrial fibrillation,” says Dr. Swarup, noting that the approval will make the treatment more accessible: “The ability to block blood clots without major surgery potentially provides a number of benefits to our patients with atrial fibrillation who are at increased risk of suffering a stroke. We are pleased that this technology will now be available to most of our patients.”
The Arizona Heart Rhythm Center is among the world’s leading diagnostic and treatment center for patients with all types of heart rhythm conditions, including atrial fibrillation. Dr. Vijay Swarup, MD, FACC, FHRS, has been at the forefront of research into the Watchman(R) device and its use for preventing strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation. For more Information about Electrophysiology Services at the Arizona Heart Rhythm Center visit azheartrhythmcenter.com or call 602-456-2342.