From worry to WATCHMAN™ device
During a volunteer blood drive, a nurse noticed that John English’s pulse was irregular and suggested he visit a doctor – as soon as possible.
“I saw the doctor, and he immediately could see that I had AFib,” English recalls. “The doctor explained that I would need to be treated for the rest of my life to reduce my risk of blood clotting and strokes.”
Atrial fibrillation – often called AFib, for short – is a condition that causes an irregular heartbeat.1 More than 2.7 million people living in the United States have AFib, and that number is expected to increase.1 Left untreated, the condition poses a number of health risks, including a significantly greater risk of suffering a stroke.2
John spent years relying on blood thinners to help manage his AFib, and reduce his risk for strokes. However, being on blood thinners not only put John at a higher risk for bleeding, but also impacted his quality of life due to the need for regular blood testing and food and drink restrictions.
But when his daughter, Shivaun, told him about her new role at Boston Scientific on the marketing team for the WATCHMANTM Left Atrial Appendage (LAAC) Closure Device, John realized there may be another option for him.
Shivaun remembers telling her parents about her new role and how excited they were. “They kept asking more and really detailed questions. I was curious about their heightened interest in my new job, but then it made sense when I figured out they were really interested in the WATCHMAN device.”
The WATCHMAN device is implanted via a minimally invasive procedure to close off the left atrial appendage, a small pouch in the left side of the heart. This prevents blood from pooling and AFib-related clots from leaving the appendage and traveling to the brain, potentially triggering a stroke. The one-time WATCHMAN procedure is the first and only FDA-approved LAAC device for reducing the risk of stroke in people with nonvalvular AFib, a type of AFib not caused by a heart valve problem.
At his next appointment, John spoke with his doctor and was approved for a WATCHMAN procedure. Today, he is free from taking a daily blood thinner and is even more proud of the work his daughter is doing at Boston Scientific.
“No worry when I go to see a doctor or dentist. No worry if I have a treatment that requires something that may have aspirin in it. No worry when I’m walking, no worry if I’m traveling. Life is a lot more carefree.”
“It turns out that taking this job at Boston Scientific was the best thing I’ve ever done – for my dad,” says Shivaun.
Important Safety Information
The WATCHMAN Device is a permanent implant designed to close the left atrial appendage in the heart in an effort to reduce the risk of stroke.
With all medical procedures there are risks associated with the implant procedure and the use of the device. The risks include but are not limited to accidental heart puncture, air embolism, allergic reaction, anemia, anesthesia risks, arrhythmias, AV (Arteriovenous) fistula, bleeding or throat pain from the TEE (Trans Esophageal Echo) probe, blood clot or air bubbles in the lungs or other organs, bruising at the catheter insertion site, clot formation on the WATCHMAN™ Closure Device, cranial bleed, excessive bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding, groin puncture bleed, hypotension, infection/pneumonia, pneumothorax, pulmonary edema, pulmonary vein obstruction, renal failure, stroke, thrombosis and transient ischemic attack. In rare cases death can occur.
Be sure to talk with your doctor so that you thoroughly understand all of the risks and benefits associated with the implantation of the WATCHMAN Device.
1 American Heart Association. Atrial Fibrillation. Accessed September 2019. Available at https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/atrial-fibrillation.
2 American Heart Association. High Blood Pressure, AFib and Your Risk of Stroke. Accessed September 2019. Available at https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/atrial-fibrillation/why-atrial-fibrillation-af-or-afib-matters/high-blood-pressure-afib-and-your-risk-of-stroke.