Tampa, Fla. – (Aug. 12, 2015) – Northside Hospital, an HCA West Florida AFib & Heart Rhythm Center, recently became the first hospital on the west coast of Florida and the fourth facility in the state to offer a newly approved implant that can help reduce the risk of stroke in some patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib).
On July 7, Northside’s Tampa Bay Heart Institute team performed the first implant of Boston Scientific’s Watchman Left Atrial Appendage Closure Implant™, a small, flexible wire and mesh system that when inserted into the heart via a catheter placed in the groin, closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage. This is where the blood can pool and clots most often form. These clots are believed to cause the majority of strokes in people with nonvalvular AFib.
More than 6 million Americans have AFib, a condition in which the upper chambers of the heart beat too quickly and with irregular rhythm. People with AFib are five times more likely to experience a stroke. To reduce this risk, AFib patients are often prescribed blood-thinning medications, which can carry risks such as bleeding in the brain. People on these drugs also need to undergo blood tests as often as once a week.
The Watchman offers a nondrug alternative. Over time, patients may be able to stop such blood thinners as soon as 45 days from the date of the implant. In one study, more than 99 percent of patients stopped taking their blood-thinning medication within a year.
“The new Watchman implant offers our AFib patients a breakthrough option for reducing their risk of stroke and further complements the cardiac treatment options available at Northside Hospital,” said Dr. Robert Sheppard, Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology & Pacing at Northside Hospital’s Tampa Bay Heart Institute and a cardiac electrophysiologist with The Heart Institute. “We look forward to providing this life-changing treatment to more patients in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Manatee counties.”
In addition to Dr. Sheppard, the physicians currently certified to implant the Watchman device are Cardiac Electrophysiologist Shalin Shah, MD, of Bay Area Heart Center and Interventional Cardiologist, Jesse Klein, DO, with The Heart Institute of Largo.
Northside Hospital’s Tampa Bay Heart Institute at Northside offers a comprehensive cardiac program for patients with a variety of heart conditions, with treatments ranging from the latest innovations in cardiac surgery to a very successful heart failure monitoring program. Northside has been at the forefront in treating Atrial Fibrillation and was one of the first hospitals in Tampa Bay to be designated as a Certified Atrial Fibrillation facility by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC) for its cardiac electrophysiology treatments. It was also one of the first hospitals in the area to begin using cryoablation to treat AFib.
About Northside Hospital
Serving the community since 1976, Northside Hospital is a 288-bed facility, offering a full range of services including interventional stroke care, full-service orthopedic and spine treatment, a 24-hour emergency department, preventative and corrective cardiac care, and general surgery. As an Accredited Chest Pain Center with PCI (SCPC) and one of the first hospitals in the area to achieve Atrial Fibrillation Certification (SCPC), our technologically advanced facility allows our superior physicians and nursing staff to care for our growing community. Northside Hospital was the first Comprehensive Stroke Center in St. Petersburg and has been nationally-recognized as a Top Performer in Key Quality Measures for Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Pneumonia and Surgical Care for the past three consecutive years by The Joint Commission. With campus-based specialized units, such as the Tampa Bay Heart Institute, and the Neuroscience Institute for Interventional Neuroradiology and neurologic care, Northside Hospital continues to enhance and expand its services to better serve the St. Petersburg community. For more information about Northside Hospital, a three-time recognized Top Workplace (TBT), visit our website at www.NorthsideHospital.com or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NorthsideHospital.
About HCA West Florida
HCA’s West Florida Division provides a complete continuum of high quality programs and services to meet the healthcare needs of residents and businesses throughout west Florida, caring for 1.1 million patients last year. HCA West Florida has 16 hospitals, 12 ambulatory surgery centers, numerous diagnostic imaging and occupational health sites, physician practices, medical education and teaching programs, a regional lab, and consolidated service center. Twelve HCA West Florida hospitals were named Top Performers on Key Quality Measures™ by The Joint Commission. HCA West Florida is affiliated with HCA, a leading comprehensive, integrated provider of healthcare and related services.
About Boston Scientific
Boston Scientific is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices that are used in a broad range of interventional medical specialties. For more information, please visit: www.bostonscientific.com.
About the WATCHMAN Device
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. For more information on the WATCHMAN Implant, please visit: watchmanimplant.com.
WATCHMAN™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device from Boston Scientific
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.