New method reduces stroke risk in atrial fibrillation patients without relying on blood thinners
People with the irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation have an increased risk of blood clots, which can lead to a stroke. Most blood clots in these patients form in a small pocket of the heart, explain invasive cardiac electrophysiologist Jamal Ahmed, MD, right, and nurse Scott Davis, left, who both work in the Upstate Heart and Vascular Center. Davis is the Watchman procedure coordinator, which refers to the procedure now offered to prevent clots from escaping that pocket, known as the left atrial appendage. The Watchman is a coin-sized, umbrellalike device inserted into the heart and lodged in the appendage. For patients who are candidates for the procedure, the goal is to stop taking blood thinners after they recover from the operation.