WisBusiness: ThedaCare is now offering a new heart treatment that could offset the use of long-term blood thinners

WisBusiness: ThedaCare is now offering a new heart treatment that could offset the use of long-term blood thinners

The Watchman device is meant for patients with atrial fibrillation, a condition marked by an irregular, trembling heartbeat that raises the risk for stroke. Many patients with AFib take a blood thinning drug called warfarin, often sold under the brand names Coumadin and Jantoven.

As an alternative, the Watchman Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device closes off part of the heart to keep blood clots that form there from entering the bloodstream and causing a stroke.

According to a release from the Appleton-based care provider, 90 percent of patients in a clinical trial were able to stop taking warfarin 45 days after getting the Watchman device.

Abdelkader Almanfi, director of the ThedaCare Structural Heart Program, says up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable, and the Watchman device can reduce the risk for stroke.

“The recovery time is minimal, generally requiring just an overnight stay in the hospital,” Almanfi said in a release.

The Watchman device is created by Boston Scientific Corporation, which says the device is the only FDA-approved implant that can reduce stroke in AFib patients not caused by a heart valve issue. The release shows it’s been implanted in more than 50,000 patients in the past 10 years.

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