Heart problems are one of the most common causes of death in the world. If you have been

experiencing palpitations, weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath and chest pain regularly, your heart might not be functioning in the most ideal way. One of the most common heart disorders is known as atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a condition that involves an irregular and rapid heart rate. During atrial fibrillation, the heart’s two upper chambers will beat abnormally and are not in coordination with the other two lower chambers. AFib can cause the blood to pool in the top chambers – increasing your risk of suffering from stroke and other heart-related complications.

Is atrial fibrillation life-threatening?

Atrial fibrillation episodes may come and go, but there are also instances in which a person may develop atrial fibrillation that doesn’t go away. Generally, atrial fibrillation is not life-threatening but is considered a serious condition that requires urgent evaluation and management. When left untreated, atrial fibrillation can lead to blood clots that can be fatal to a person.

Reducing the risk of strokes to AFib patients

People suffering from atrial fibrillation are sometimes referred to as AFib patients. Treating atrial

fibrillation may include several medications such as using blood-thinning medications to prevent blood clots, but it can pose a high risk for patients with bleeding risk. Specialized physicians can use interventions to reduce the risk of stroke in AFib patients such as a WATCHMAN.

WATCHMAN – what it does?

Blood thinners can reduce the risk of blood clots but present a bleed risk.  One of the most common places where blood clots originate in the heart is the left atrial appendage, so one of the other options is to close the left atrial appendage. It can reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke and the WATCHMAN implant does just that. WATCHMAN is a device plug into the muscle pocket to seal it off from the rest of the heart chamber. Now that the breeding ground for blood clots is completely sealed off, there is a lesser chance an AFib patient will suffer from a stroke. WATCHMAN is ideal for AFib patients who can’t take blood thinners or use blood thinners and need to stop using them. In fact, 92% of AFib patients don’t take blood thinners 45 days after receiving the WATCHMAN implant.

At Virginia Arrhythmia Consultants, we have an expansive experience with Watchman implants.  In fact both of our physicians, Dr. Guru Mohanty and Dr. Saumil Shah are specially trained in comprehensive WATCHMAN evaluation, implant and post procedure management.  The procedure may take 30 to 90 minutes under general anesthesia and the AFib patient will need to be observed the whole night. After 45 days, another transesophageal echo will be conducted to check if the skin has started to grow over the implant. If it does, the AFib patient will be put on aspirin and Plavix medications for another six months and will eventually be required to take only low dose aspirin afterward. 

With WATCHMAN, managing your atrial fibrillation and other risk associated with it becomes easier and less risky too. For more information on the WATCHMAN device or if you believe you could be a candidate, contact us at Virginia Arrhythmia Consultants.

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