By Lynne Adkins

By Lynne Adkins

BRYN MAWR, Pa. (CBS) – Patients with Atrial Fibrillation now have an alternative to blood thinners to protect them from the risk of stroke.

Atrial Fibrillation is an irregular heart beat that can cause patients to form blood clots which can then lead to strokes.

Dr. Sheetal Chandhok — a cardiac electrophysiologist from Bryn Mawr Hospital — says until now, blood thinners have been the only way to prevent those dangerous clots. Now, she says, doctors are implanting a small device called “the Watchman:”

“It’s the first therapy that’s not a total body blood thinning medication what it is, is a mechanical device that will prevent the clots from forming inside that left upper chamber and prevent them from traveling places because it walls it off.”

He says not everyone can tolerate blood thinners and the medication can cause bleeding, which can be serious.

The procedure to implant the device takes about an hour.