AURORA, Colo., July 30, 2018 – HCA/HealthONE’s The Medical Center of Aurora (TMCA) announced that Andrew Cohen, MD, a board-certified electrophysiologist with Aurora Denver Cardiology Associates, successfully performed the hospital’s first WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Implant procedure. TMCA is one of only ten hospitals in Colorado to offer patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) an alternative to long-term warfarin medication with the newly approved device.
“The Medical Center of Aurora has a long history of excellence in our Heart Rhythm program,” said Dan Miller, President and CEO of The Medical Center of Aurora and Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital. “We have Rocky Mountain Heart Rhythm Institute and physicians who have always been on the leading edge of medical technology, providing our patients with new options for treating many serious health issues such as Atrial Fibrillation. The WATCHMAN Implant is now one of the groundbreaking options we are able to offer.”
Over 2.5 million American adults have Atrial Fibrillation, which causes a rapid or irregular heartbeat. AF is the most common cardiac arrhythmia and significantly increases an individual’s risk of having a stroke. The increased risk of stroke occurs because AF can cause blood to pool and form clots. The blood clots can then break loose and travel in the bloodstream to the brain, lungs, and other parts of the body.
For patients with AF who have reason to seek a non-drug alternative, WATCHMAN is a relatively new implant alternative to reduce their risk of AF-related stroke. The implant works by closing 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 appendage with the WATCHMAN device, the risk of stroke is significantly reduced and the need for long-term blood thinners can be eliminated.
“I am excited that The Medical Center of Aurora is now offering this breakthrough stroke risk reduction option for our patients with non-valvular AF,” said Dr. Cohen. “This technology gives us a treatment option for patients with atrial fibrillation, who have had bleeding issues due to the long term use of warfarin or other blood thinners, to discontinue these medications.”
Implanting the WATCHMAN device is a one-time procedure that usually lasts about an hour. Following the procedure, patients typically need to stay in the hospital for 24 hours.
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