Porter Regional Hospital is First in Northern Indiana to Implant Newly Approved Watchman™ LAAC Implant – An Alternative to Long-Term Anticoagulation Medication for AFib Patients

By: Porter Regional Hospital Last Updated: May 11, 2016

Porter-New-Hospital-Coming-SoonPorter Regional Hospital announced that it is the first hospital in northern Indiana approved to implant the WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Implant. The new implant offers patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) an alternative to long-term anticoagulation medication such as warfarin.

Porter Regional was one of only 103 hospitals nationwide selected to offer this new implant to AF patients. The first implant was completed in Porter’s Center for Cardiovascular Medicine by three of Porter’s specially trained physicians: Electrophysiologist Dr. Mark Dixon, Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Sandeep Sehgal and Cardiologist Dr. Jay Shah who is board certified in Echocardiography. The physicians and the program’s coordinator, Dawn Nelson, CNS, NP-C, underwent training earlier this year at the Boston Scientific Innovation Center in Minnesota.

For patients with AF who are considered suitable for anticoagulation therapy by their physicians but who have reason to seek a non-drug alternative, the WATCHMAN LAAC Implant is an implant alternative to reduce their risk of AF-related stroke. The WATCHMAN Implant closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA) to keep harmful blood clots from the LAA from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking anticoagulation medication.

People with atrial fibrillation have a five times greater risk of stroke.1 Atrial fibrillation can cause blood to pool and form clots in the LAA. For patients with non-valvular AF, the LAA is believed to be the source of the majority of stroke-causing blood clots.2 If a clot forms in the LAA, it can increase one’s risk of having a stroke. Blood clots can break loose and travel in the blood stream to the brain, lungs, and other parts of the body.

“The new WATCHMAN LAAC Implant provides physicians with a breakthrough stroke risk reduction option for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation,” said Electrophysiologist Mark Dixon, D.O. “For patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation who are seeking an alternative to anticoagulation medication like warfarin, the WATCHMAN Implant offers a potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment option which could free them from the challenges of long-term anticoagulation therapy.”

Implanting the WATCHMAN Device is a one-time procedure. Following the procedure, patients typically need to stay in the hospital for 24 hours.

About Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a heart condition where the upper chambers of the heart (atrium) beat too fast and with irregular rhythm (fibrillation). AF is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, currently affecting more than five million Americans.3 Twenty percent of all strokes occur in patients with AF, and AF-related strokes are more frequently fatal and disabling.4,5 The most common treatment to reduce stroke risk in patients with AF is blood-thinning warfarin medication. Despite its proven efficacy, long-term warfarin medication is not well-tolerated by some patients and carries a significant risk for bleeding complications. Nearly half of AF patients eligible for warfarin are currently untreated due to tolerance and adherence issues.6

The WATCHMAN Implant is designed to close the LAA in order to keep harmful blood clots from the LAA from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke for higher risk patients with non-valvular AF. The WATCHMAN Implant has been approved in Europe since 2005 and is FDA-approved in the United States. It has been implanted in more than 10,000 patients and is approved in more than 70 countries around the world.

About Porter Regional
Considered a “heart hospital within a hospital,” the Center for Cardiovascular Medicine is located on the first floor of the new Porter Regional Hospital and provides advanced cardiovascular medicine in one centralized location. The center was the first health care facility in Indiana to receive full Atrial Fibrillation Certification status from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC) and was awarded advanced certification in heart failure from The Joint Commission (the first hospital in northern Indiana and the second in the state to receive this honor). The center has also received national recognition and accolades from the American Heart Association, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Distinction, Society of Chest Pain Centers, and the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

For patients with AF who would like to learn more about an alternative to long-term anticoagulation therapy, call 219-983-8356. For more information on the WATCHMAN Implant, visit watchmanimplant.com.

About Boston Scientific
Boston Scientific is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices that are used in a broad range of interventional medical specialties. For more information, please visit: www.bostonscientific.com.

1. Holmes DR, Seminars in Neurology 2010; 30:528–536
2. Blackshear J. and Odell J., Annals of Thoracic Surgery. 1996;61:755-759
3. Colilla et al., Am J Cardiol. 2013; 112:1142-1147
4. Hart RG, Halperin JL., Ann Intern Med. 1999; 131:688–695
5. McGrath ER, Neurology 2013; 81:825-832
6. Waldo, AL. JACC 2005; 46:1729-1736.

WATCHMAN™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device from Boston Scientific
The WATCHMAN Device is a permanent implant designed to close the left atrial appendage in the heart in an effort to reduce the risk of stroke. With all medical procedures there are risks associated with the implant procedure and the use of the device. The risks include but are not limited to accidental heart puncture, air embolism, allergic reaction, anemia, anesthesia risks, arrhythmias, AV (Arteriovenous) fistula, bleeding or throat pain from the TEE (Trans Esophageal Echo) probe, blood clot or air bubbles in the lungs or other organs, bruising at the catheter insertion site, clot formation on the WATCHMAN™ Closure Device, cranial bleed, excessive bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding, groin puncture bleed, hypotension, infection/pneumonia, pneumothorax, pulmonary edema, pulmonary vein obstruction, renal failure, stroke, thrombosis and transient ischemic attack. In rare cases death can occur. Be sure to talk with your doctor so that you thoroughly understand all of the risks and benefits associated with the implantation of the WATCHMAN Device.