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UnityPoint Health Performs New Stroke Risk Procedure

The MedQuarter | May 24th, 2021

St. Luke’s Heart Team members from left to right: Drs. Ojas Bansal, Wassef Karrowni, Weiwei Li; Kolleen Buol, RN; Michelle Pugh, cardiac sonographer; Deb Zastrow, RN and Emily Spear, radiologic technologist. CREDIT UNITYPOINT
St. Luke’s Heart Team members from left to right: Drs. Ojas Bansal, Wassef Karrowni, Weiwei Li; Kolleen Buol, RN; Michelle Pugh, cardiac sonographer; Deb Zastrow, RN and Emily Spear, radiologic technologist. CREDIT UNITYPOINT

The heart team at UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital performed the first WATCHMAN FLX Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) implant last week in Cedar Rapids.

The device implant reduces stroke risk in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation, acting as an alternative to the lifelong use of blood thinners for people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem (also known as non-valvular AF). Up to six million Americans are estimated to be affected by AF – an irregular heartbeat that feels like a quivering heart. Individuals with AF have a five times greater risk of stroke than those with normal heart rhythms.

The WATCHMAN FLX device closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA) to keep harmful blood clots that can form in the LAA from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke may be reduced, and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking their blood thinner, such as warfarin, Eliquis, Xarelto or Pradaxa.

Cardiologists at UnityPoint Health – Heart and Vascular Institute performed the first WATCHMAN procedure at St. Luke’s in late 2016. This next-generation WATCHMAN technology has a new design to help treat more patients safely and effectively to ensure the best long-term outcomes.

Read more at corridorbusiness.com.

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