Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is reaching epidemic levels worldwide. “As the population ages globally, AF is predicted to affect 6–12 million people in the USA by 2050 and 17.9 million in Europe by 2060.” Patients with non-valvular AF are at a very high risk of ischemic stroke, and clinicians are keen to expand their treatment options for atrial fibrillation.
While clinicians have long prescribed anticoagulants – factor II/Xa inhibitors (NOACs) and warfarin (Coumadin) – to reduce the risk of stroke with considerable success, these medications have dangerous side effects including severe bleeding and other complications. For those patients with non-valvular AF for whom anticoagulants are contraindicated, the WATCHMAN* Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device can be a viable alternative.
Stroke Prevention — Treating Atrial Fibrillation
Stroke prevention is clinically and economically vital because of the significant likelihood of death or serious lifelong chronic conditions as well as high ongoing healthcare costs. Although oral anticoagulants, warfarin (Coumadin) or factor II/Xa inhibitors (NOACs) can significantly reduce the risk of stroke in patients with AF, these medications can cause severe bleeding and related complications. As an alternative to warfarin and NOACs, WATCHMAN provides “local” therapy of left atrial appendage (LAA) closure for stroke prevention. WATCHMAN is a permanently implanted Class IIb medical device designed to close the left atrial appendage in the heart to reduce the risk of stroke. In a clinical trial, 9 out of 10 patients with AF were able to stop taking warfarin 45 days after the WATCHMAN procedure.
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