Device Therapy for Atrial Fibrillation
Physicians affiliated with Memorial Hermann utilize implantable devices to treat patients suffering from atrial fibrillation (AFib).
A pacemaker is a device, smaller than a matchbox, that is placed under the skin near the collarbone to help regulate a patient’s heartbeat. A wire extends from the pacemaker to the heart. If the pacemaker detects an abnormally slow heart rate (bradycardia) or the absence of a heartbeat, it emits electrical impulses that stimulate the heart to speed up or resume beating. A pacemaker is often implanted if medications to prevent arrhythmia or control the heart rate result in an excessively slow rate. A pacemaker may also be implanted after Atrioventricular (AV) node ablation.
Patients at Memorial Hermann have access to the innovative WATCHMAN treatment that reduces the risk of stroke caused by non-valvular Afib. The WATCHMAN is a small parachute-shaped device that permanently closes off the left atrial appendage, a site where clots can form and increase the risk of stroke. Implantation takes about an hour and once the device is implanted, it will not require replacement. In addition to reducing a patient’s risk of stroke, the WATCHMAN also eliminates the need for blood-thinning medications.
Are there eligibility requirements for WATCHMAN?
Yes. Your cardiologist and/or electrophysiologist will review the requirements with you to determine if you are a candidate for WATCHMAN. Listed below are criteria for WATCHMAN:
- Do you have Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) not caused by heart valve problems (non-valvular AFib)?
- Has your doctor recommended that you take a blood thinner for your AFib?
- Can you take Warfarin but need an alternative to long term blood thinners for one of the reasons below?
- You have a history of serious bleeding while taking blood thinners;
- You have a lifestyle, occupation, or condition that puts you at risk for serious bleeding;
- You are taking Warfarin and having trouble with your treatment plan, and a different type of blood thinner isn’t an option for you.
How does WATCHMAN work?
The WATCHMAN device fits into a part of your heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA). 90 percent of blood clots that come from the heart are formed in the LAA. WATCHMAN permanently closes off this part of your heart to keep those blood clots from escaping. Your doctor will explain the procedure to you during your visit.
Where can I go to get this procedure?
For more information or to find a provider, please call: 713-338-5057
To learn more about device therapy for AFib, cardiologists or treatment facilities, please use our contact form here. Schedule an appointment with a cardiologist affiliated with Memorial Hermann online or by calling (713) 222-2273.