Health Beat - Fall 2017 - 13

Most clots from atrial fi brillation form in the left
atrial appendage of the heart, which is closed with the
Watchman implant.

"Our first cases have gone exceedingly well," says Maria
Baldasare, M.D., a Mowery Clinic cardiologist. "This procedure has the potential to impact the lives of many people."

The Knock on Blood Thinners
A significant number of people have adverse outcomes from
being on blood thinners, including internal bleeding. Others
struggle to take their blood thinners properly or maintain
therapeutic levels in their system, which provides ineffective protection from stroke. Some refuse to take blood
thinners due to risk of injury at work or risk of falling, and
the potential consequences of internal bleeding associated
with trauma.
"Many people with atrial fibrillation are not on blood thinners because of perceived or actual risk from blood thinners
and have no protection from a stroke," Baldasare says. "The
Watchman device has been shown to be just as effective as
warfarin (a common blood thinner) to prevent stroke."

Pleased Patient
Donna Newman of Minneapolis was one of the first to undergo
the new Watchman procedure at Salina Regional Health
Center. She was diagnosed with non-valvular atrial fibrillation
after feeling episodes of her heart fluttering or beating fast in
her chest.
Newman tried to take blood thinners in 2013 for an unrelated medical problem but experienced gastrointestinal
bleeding. So when she was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation

Cardiologist Maria Baldasare, M.D., performs a heart
catheterization procedure at Salina Regional Health Center.

she thought there was nothing she could do to safely prevent
stroke until she learned of the Watchman procedure.
"I was concerned about having a stroke and what that could
mean: not being able to take care of myself. I've seen just how
devastating a stroke can be," Newman says.
Testing six weeks after the procedure showed the implant
had sealed her left atrial appendage closed, greatly reducing
her risk for stroke.
"I've already mentioned this to my friends with A-fib, and
I would recommend it to anyone," she says. 1


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Health Beat - Fall 2017

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