Pictured from left to right are David Guillory, RT; Dr. Louis Salvaggio, MD; Jared Hosey, RN; Olivia Smith, Boston Scientific; Cheree Landry, RT; Dr. Marc Saad, MD; Sean Blanchard, RT; Alexis Marvin, Echo; Elaine Sharpe, RN; Cindy Langley, RN and Stewart McCall, Boston Scientific.
LAFAYETTE – Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS) is the first in Lafayette to offer a new treatment option for patients who are dependent on blood thinners due to atrial fibrillation (AFib). Dr. Louis Salvaggio, interventional cardiologist, and Dr. Marc Saad, electrophysiologist, performed the first Watchman implant on July 17 at the catheterization laboratory at Lafayette General Medical Center.
The Watchman device is a one-time heart implant that reduces stroke risk for a lifetime and eliminates the need to take blood thinners. About the size of a quarter, the Watchman device is placed into the left atrial appendage (LAA) of the heart, where 90 percent of stroke-causing blood clots are formed. The device permanently closes off this part of the heart to keep those clots from escaping. The non-invasive procedure takes about an hour, and the post-procedure hospital stay is one to two days.
About two to three million people in the U.S., most with Afib, need to take blood thinners like Coumadin or Warfarin. Patients on blood thinners are unable to work certain jobs, like in construction or plant environments. In addition, these patients are required to make frequent visits to a clinic for blood tests to monitor and manage their blood thinner medication.
“Blood thinners reduce the risk of stroke, but when not taken or monitored correctly, they can actually increase stroke risk,” said Dr. Saad. “Within 45 days, 90 percent of patients who have this surgery are able to stop taking blood thinners, and that is truly life-changing for them.”
“Patients with AFib are five times more likely to experience a stroke, and for patients who qualify, this new treatment offers a safe alternative that eliminates long-term risks of blood thinners,” said Dr. Salvaggio.
To learn more about the comprehensive structural heart program at CIS, or to schedule an appointment in Lafayette, call 337-988-1585. CIS also performs this procedure in Baton Rouge.