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SUN CITY, Ariz. (Feb. 23, 2018) – Banner Boswell Medical Center is now offering a new medical procedure that will allow certain patients with atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat) to eliminate the long-term use of blood thinners taken to reduce their risk of stroke.
Patients with atrial fibrillation (or AFib) not caused by a faulty heart valve are at a significantly increased risk of stroke. As a result, these patients often face long-term use of warfarin (the most common blood thinner) to reduce their risk of stroke.
Long-term use of warfarin brings an increased risk of bleeding, and requires regular blood tests and food-and-drink restrictions.
The new procedure at Banner Boswell involves permanently implanting a small device called the Watchman Implant into the heart. The medical team at Banner Boswell recently placed its first Watchman device, successfully implanting it into the heart of a 75-year-old Glendale woman.
“I feel like doing things again. I feel like cooking and getting things done around the house,’’ said Nancy Roe, an Arizona native and great-grandmother to 16 children. Roe, a former legal secretary, has suffered from heart problems since the late 1980s.
AFib affects the heart’s ability to pump blood normally. This can cause blood to pool in an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA). There, blood cells can stick together and form a clot. When a blood clot escapes from the LAA and travels to another part of the body, it can cut off the blood supply to the brain, causing a stroke.
In people with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem, more than 90 percent of stroke-causing clots that come from the heart are formed in the LAA. That’s why closing off this part of the heart is an effective way to reduce stroke risk.
The Watchman Implant is placed into the LAA and is designed to permanently close it off and keep those blood clots from escaping. Watchman is about the size of a quarter and made from very light and compact materials commonly used in many other medical implants. Patients who undergo the Watchman procedure usually have just an overnight stay in the hospital before going home.
This implant effectively reduces the risk of stroke, replacing the need to take warfarin. In a clinical trial, 9 out of 10 people were able to stop taking warfarin just 45 days after the Watchman procedure.
About Banner Boswell Medical Center
Banner Boswell Medical Center in Sun City, Arizona, specializes in neurosciences, heart care, cancer care, orthopedic surgery, physical rehabilitation, stroke care, skilled nursing and emergency care. Banner Boswell is part of Banner Health, a nonprofit healthcare system with 28 hospitals in six states. Banner Boswell’s high-performing team has achieved many recognitions including five Top 100 Hospital awards and eight Top 50 Cardiovascular awards from Truven Health Analytics. Banner Boswell has also earned US News and World Report’s best hospital designation as well as numerous quality awards. Supporting Banner Boswell’s mission of excellent patient care is Sun Health Foundation, which encourages charitable giving to enhance health care delivery. For more information, visit www.BannerHealth.com/Boswell.