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Beebe now offers the WATCHMAN™ program for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) at the medical center in Lewes. The WATCHMAN™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device allows patients to return to healthy lives without the increased risk of stroke or a potentially fatal bleeding event.

The WATCHMAN Implant is the Only FDA‑Approved Device Proven to Safely and Effectively Reduce Stroke Risk in Patients with Non-Valvular Atrial Fibrillation (NVAF).

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation or AF means you have an irregular heart rhythm. This irregularity increases your risk for stroke by five times. AF causes your heart to beat out of sync, which can affect blood flow. Some of the blood can collect in pockets and cause clots. These clots can then break off and cause a stroke.

About 90 percent of blood clots for patients with AFib occur in the LAA – left atrial appendage. To prevent these blood clots, the WATCHMAN team at Beebe can implant a small device to effectively close off the left atrial appendage, which reduces the risk of stroke.

Who Might Qualify for the WATCHMAN Program?

For those patients who are on blood thinners, such as warfarin, and either do not tolerate it well or those who may not be able to take it at all, WATCHMAN™ could be the solution.

The WATCHMAN procedure is similar to a stent procedure. A multidisciplinary team at Beebe, which includes an interventional cardiologist, electrophysiologist, cardiologist, and cardiac cath lab teams, install the Watchman device through a small incision, which allows a tube to thread up to the heart to implant the device.

By securely closing off the LAA using a WATCHMAN™ LAAC Device, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking anticoagulants. The WATCHMAN implant procedure is performed under general anesthesia in a catheterization laboratory setting using a standard transseptal technique.

The procedure usually lasts about an hour and the patient is typically in the hospital for 24 hours following the procedure. The patient's cardiologist continues to monitor their atrial fibrillation on an ongoing basis. The WATCHMAN Device is FDA approved and is registered in 75 countries, with over 10,000 implants performed worldwide.

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