Palmetto Health Heart Hospital offering Watchman™ implant device for atrial fibrillation

Posted on 3/7/2017

Several patients have received implant designed to reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation-related stroke.

Palmetto Health Heart Hospital has added the Watchman™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Implant to its arsenal of tools used to fight heart disease.

Palmetto Health continuously evaluates the latest technology to ensure it has the best options for the patients we serve. Several patients have received the implant this week, which is designed to reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation related stroke.

The Watchman device offers an alternative to people with atrial fibrillation caused by non-heart valve problems. The implant closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA) to keep harmful blood clots from forming and causing stroke. Patients taking blood thinners like Coumadin (warfarin) long-term should speak with their physician to see if the Watchman device is right for them. Implanting the device is a one-time procedure that usually lasts about an hour. Following the procedure, patients typically stay in the hospital for approximately 24 hours.

Todd Senn, M.D., cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist with Columbia Heart, believes this implant has great potential. He said, “This is a game-changer for patients who have atrial fibrillation yet cannot tolerate typical blood-thinning agents. I think it will benefit thousands of patients in the area and millions across the country.”

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.

For more information about Palmetto Health Heart Hospital, visit

About Palmetto Health
Palmetto Health, the largest health care system in the South Carolina Midlands region and one of the state’s largest employers, comprises more than 15,000 team members, physicians and volunteers working together to fulfill Palmetto Health’s Vision: To be remembered by each patient as providing the care and compassion we want for our families and ourselves. The system includes six acute-care hospitals in the Midlands—Palmetto Health Baptist, Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge, Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, Palmetto Health Heart Hospital, Palmetto Health Richland and Palmetto Health Tuomey. In the South Carolina Upstate region, Palmetto Health also co-owns Baptist Easley Hospital. Recognized nationally as one of the best places to work and receive care, the system also includes the Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group, the region’s largest multispecialty group, which serves as the entry point to the health care system with more than 500 providers serving patients in more than 80 practices and nearly 100 locations. Palmetto Health also is supported by two 501 (c)(3) foundations, and trains the next generation of physicians through its 24 residency and fellowship programs affiliated with the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. For more information, visit or call 803-296-CARE (2273).


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