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North Oaks Cardiovascular Institute Performs Groundbreaking WATCHMAN Implant Procedure

North Oaks Cardiovascular Institute Performs Groundbreaking WATCHMAN Implant Procedure

Offers Life-Changing Alternative for People with Non-Valvular AFib

The WATCHMAN™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) is a one-time, minimally invasive used to permanently reduce stroke risk and the worry of bleeding for people with atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heart rhythm not caused by a heart valve problem (non-valvular AFib).

The WATCHMAN™ device is inserted into the heart to close off the left atrial appendage, a pouch-like structure where, in people with non-valvular AFib, blood commonly pools and clots due to the heart’s inability to pump normally. As a result, blood clots can break loose and travel in the bloodstream to the brain, lungs and other body parts — significantly increasing the risk of stroke.

On average, a person with AFib is five times more likely to suffer a stroke than someone with a regular heartbeat. For patients with non-valvular AFib, the left atrial appendage is believed to be the source of more than 90% of stroke-causing blood clots.

The WATCHMAN™ implant fits simply into the left atrial appendage and is designed to permanently close it off to prevent blood clots from forming without the use of medication. Traditionally, anticoagulation medicines have been used to help prevent clots by thinning the blood, but they come with an increased risk of bleeding and other challenging side effects. The WATCHMAN™ implant permanently reduces stroke risk without the worries that come with a lifetime of blood thinners.

About the WATCHMAN™ Implant Procedure

The WATCHMAN™ implant is a small parachute-shaped device about the size of a quarter. It is the most implanted device approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to permanently reduce the risk of stroke safely and effectively in people with non-valvular AFib.

To place it, your doctor makes a small cut in your upper leg and inserts a narrow tube (catheter). Your doctor then guides the WATCHMAN™ implant through the catheter into the left atrial appendage of your heart. The procedure is done under general anesthesia and takes about one hour. Patients commonly stay in the hospital overnight and leave the next day.

The WATCHMAN™ team at North Oaks is led by board-certified Interventional Cardiologists Dr. Nidal Abi Rafeh and Dr. Georges Khoueiry. Other members include the Catheterization Lab, Echocardiograph and Anesthesia teams.

North Oaks Cardiovascular Institute performs groundbreaking WATCHMAN™ implant procedure.

Are You a Candidate for the WATCHMAN™ Implant Procedure?

Let our North Oaks Cardiovascular Institute team evaluate and test whether the WATCHMAN™ is right for you or explore other treatment options. Our experts can help support and guide you along your entire heart health journey.

North Oaks Cardiovascular Institute provides a complete spectrum of heart health care, including heart disease prevention and management, diagnostic cardiology services, interventional cardiology and cardiovascular and thoracic surgical care. Featuring one of the Northshore’s most skilled groups of specialists in cardiovascular care, we are committed to providing our region with innovative services, advanced treatment options and everything your heart needs.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit or call (985) 230-7350.