Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit has become the second hospital in metro Detroit to offer patients with irregular heartbeats a new device as an alternative to the long-term use of blood-thinning medication to reduce the risk of stroke. In March, cardiologists at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak performed the Midwest’s first implant of the device, called a Watchman.
The quarter-size device is designed for atrial fibrillation patients who can’t use blood thinners because of the increased risk of bleeding complications. The procedure takes about an hour and is implanted through a leg vein and into the heart.
“We have extensive experience treating atrial fibrillation, so we’re very excited about this newest development,” says Dr. Claudio Schuger, Henry Ford Section Head of Cardiac Electrophysiology.
Atrial fibrillation affects more than 5 million Americans. Researchers believe 20 percent of all strokes occur in patients with atrial fibrillation. Symptoms include irregular and rapid heartbeat.