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Good Samaritan Hospital is among one of the first facilities nationwide to offer the new WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device, created by Boston Scientific, as a fast, minimally invasive procedure for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF).

Non-valvular AF is an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. AF is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, currently affecting more than five million Americans.2 Patients with AF have a five-fold increased risk of stroke due to blood stagnating from the improperly beating atrium and the resulting blood clot formation.3Stroke is more severe for patients with AF, as they have a 70% chance of death or permanent disability.3 The most common treatment for stroke risk reduction in patients with AF is blood-thinning warfarin therapy.

Patients with non-valvular AF who are at increased risk for stroke and systemic embolism, are suitable for warfarin and seek a non-pharmacologic alternative to warfarin may be eligible for a WATCHMAN Device.

An Innovative Alternative

Despite its proven efficacy, long-term warfarin therapy is not well-tolerated by some patients and carries a significant risk for bleeding complications. Nearly half of patients eligible for warfarin are currently untreated due to tolerance and adherence issues.4

The WATCHMAN Device is intended for percutaneous, transcatheter closure of the left atrial appendage (LAA). By closing off the LAA, a thin, sack-like appendix arising from the left side of the heart that is believed to be the source of a majority of stroke-causing blood clots in people with non-valvular AF, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking warfarin.

Clinical Study Results

The WATCHMAN Device can be implanted safely5, enables patients to discontinue warfarin6 and reduces AF stroke risk comparably to warfarin7. In addition, the WATCHMAN Device demonstrated statistically superior reductions in hemorrhagic stroke, disabling stroke and cardiovascular death compared to warfarin over long-term follow-up8:

  • 85% in hemorrhagic stroke
  • 63% in disabling stroke
  • 56% in cardiovascular death

WATCHMAN Procedure

The one hour WATCHMAN procedure is performed under general anesthesia and only requires a brief 24-hour hospital stay. The WATCHMAN Device is implanted through a femoral access via a trans-septal approach by using a catheter-based delivery system. The device is designed to permanently close off the LAA, believed to be the source of a majority of stroke-causing blood clots,1 and thereby avoid the migration of emboli to the brain.

To learn more about WATCHMAN Device, or to be referred to a physician who can offer the WATCHMAN procedure at Good Samaritan Hospital, please call: Lisa Fletcher at (408) 879-5914 or

Information provided by Boston Scientific Corporation

  1. Blackshear J. and Odell J., Annals of Thoracic Surgery. 1996;61:755-759
  2. Colilla et al., Am J Cardiol. 2013; 112:1142-1147
  3. Holmes DR, Seminars in Neurology 2010; 30:528–536
  4. Waldo, AL. JACC 2005; 46:1729-1736
  8. PROTECT AF. Relative risk reductions in hemorrhagic stroke and CV death at 5 yrs, disabling stroke at 4 yrs