BAKERSFIELD, CA – February 9, 2018 – Dignity Health Memorial Hospital is the first hospital in Bakersfield to offer patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) an alternative to long-term warfarin or Novel Oral Anti-Coagulants (NOAC) such as Eliquis®, Pradaxa®, and Xarelto® with the newly approved WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Implant.
Dr. Jared Salvo, a cardiac electrophysiologist in Bakersfield is the first specialist to perform the procedure in Kern County assisted by Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Jeet Singh. Dr. Salvo says the WATCHMAN LAAC Implant is a breakthrough for patients with non-valvular AF who are at risk for stroke. “The WATCHMAN Implant is potentially life-changing for patients seeking a non-drug alternative, offering a stroke risk treatment option which could free them from the challenges of long-term warfarin therapy.”
Implanting the WATCHMAN Device is a one-time, minimally invasive procedure that usually lasts about an hour. Following the procedure, patients typically need to stay in the hospital for 24 hours.
For AF patients who are considered suitable for warfarin by their physicians but have reason to seek a non-drug alternative, the WATCHMAN LAAC Implant is an alternative to reduce their risk of AF-related stroke. The WATCHMAN Implant closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA) to keep harmful blood clots from the LAA from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke.
People with atrial fibrillation have a five times greater risk of stroke. AF can cause blood to pool and form clots in the LAA. For patients with non-valvular AF, the LAA is believed to be the source of the majority of stroke-causing blood clots. If a clot forms in the LAA, it can increase one’s risk of having a stroke. Blood clots can break loose and travel in the blood stream to the brain, lungs, and other parts of the body.
About Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a heart condition where the upper chambers of the heart (atrium) beat too fast and with irregular rhythm (fibrillation). AF is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, currently affecting more than five million Americans. Twenty percent of all strokes occur in patients with AF, and AF-related strokes are more frequently fatal and disabling. The most common treatment to reduce stroke risk in patients with AF is blood-thinning warfarin medication. Despite its proven efficacy, long-term warfarin medication is not well-tolerated by some patients and carries a significant risk for bleeding complications. Nearly half of AF patients eligible for warfarin are currently untreated due to tolerance and adherence issues.
The WATCHMAN Implant, developed manufactured and marketed by Boston Scientific, is designed to close the LAA in order to keep harmful blood clots from the LAA from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke for higher risk patients with non-valvular AF. The WATCHMAN Implant has been approved in Europe since 2005 and is FDA-approved in the United States. It has been implanted in more than 10,000 patients and is approved in more than 70 countries around the world.
About Dignity Health Memorial Hospital
Memorial Hospital is a 426 bed acute care medical center offering a full range of services including the Sarvanand Heart and Brain Center, Grossman Burn Center, expanded maternity and family care, the Lauren Small Children’s Center, orthopedic services, wound care center, general/outpatient surgery, and 24-hour emergency care including the area’s only pediatric emergency room. Memorial Hospital is a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and is home to the Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House. Memorial Hospital is a member of Dignity Health and is a trusted community partner, serving residents of Bakersfield and Kern County with quality, compassionate care since 1956.