Atrial Fibrillation or A-Fib is the most common type of heart rhythm problem, causing the heart to beat too fast or too slow. Dr. Scott Burke, Chief of Cardiovascular Electrophisiology says the irregularity can cause blood to pool in a portion of the heart and lead to blood clots which may cause a stroke. For that reason, many patients must take blood thinners every day, medication which can be difficult to take and can also cause bleeding.
There is now a device that can take the place of daily medication for those who qualify. The WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure Implant is about the size of a quarter and resembles a mini-jellyfish. When implanted into a small structure in the left atrium of the heart, it prevents the appendage from filling with blood and forming potentially deadly blood clots.
He says once the device is implanted, the heart tissue grows around it and the WATCHMAN becomes permanent. The procedure takes less than an hour, giving patients protection from stroke without the difficulties involved with taking blood thinners on a daily basis.
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