Premier Health First in Dayton Ohio to Offer an Alternative to Long-term Medication with Cardiac Implant Device

Dayton, OHIO, July 18, 2016 – Many Premier Health patients at risk for blood clots now have an alternative to long-term anticoagulant medication.

Good Samaritan Hospital (closed in 2018) is the first hospital in Dayton and the third hospital in southwest Ohio to offer patients who suffer from non-valvular atrial fibrillation with an implant-based treatment option. The permanent implant, known as the WATCHMAN™ Left Atrial Appendage (LAA) Closure Device, is placed through a catheter and designed to close the left atrial appendage of the heart. It is intended to reduce the risk of strokes related to atrial fibrillation (A Fib) and serve as an alternative to using warfarin medication for a long period of time.

“Bringing the WATCHMAN™ Device to the Dayton region is another example of Premier Health delivering on our commitment to bring meaningful innovations to patient care,” said Mary Boosalis, president of Premier Health. 

Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition in which the upper chambers of the heart (atrium) beat too fast and with irregular rhythm (fibrillation). The most common cardiac arrhythmia, A Fib, affects more than five million Americans. Twenty percent of all strokes occur in patients with A Fib, and A Fib-related strokes are more frequently fatal and disabling. The most common treatment to reduce stroke risk in patients with A Fib is blood-thinning warfarin medication. Despite its effectiveness, long-term warfarin medication is not well-tolerated by some patients and carries a significant risk for bleeding complications. “Nearly half of A Fib patients eligible for warfarin are currently not receiving anticoagulation due to tolerance and adherence issues, highlighting the need for additional treatment options,” says Abdul Wase, MD, medical director of Electrophysiology at Good Samaritan Hospital (closed in 2018) and an electrophysiologist with The Premier Heart Associates.

Atrial fibrillation can cause blood to pool and form clots in an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA). According to Ravi Gurujal, MD, structural heart interventional cardiologist with Miami Valley Cardiologists, the LAA is believed to be the source of the majority of stroke-causing blood clots in patients with non-valvular A Fib. If a clot forms in the LAA, it can increase one’s stroke risk. Blood clots can break loose, travel in the bloodstream, and potentially cause damage to the brain, lungs, and other parts of the body.

The WATCHMAN LAAC Device is designed to close off the left atrial appendage (LAA) to keep harmful blood clots from the LAA from entering the bloodstream and potentially causing a stroke. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke might be reduced and, over time, patients might be able to stop taking warfarin. 

“People with A Fib have a five times greater risk of stroke,” says Kevin Kravitz, MD, an electrophysiologist with Dayton Heart Center. “The new WATCHMAN Device provides a potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment option that could free certain patients from the challenges of long-term warfarin therapy.” 

The WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device has been approved in Europe since 2005. Recent FDA approval was based on the WATCHMAN clinical program which consisted of numerous studies, with more than 2,400 patients and nearly 6,000 patient-years of follow up. It has been implanted in more than 10,000 patients and is approved in more than 70 countries around the world.

Implanting the WATCHMAN Device is a one-time procedure that usually lasts about an hour. Following the procedure, patients typically need to stay in the hospital for 24 hours. However, not all patients may be candidates for the procedure, so it is important to follow up with a physician to discuss eligibility and treatment options.

For more information about the WATCHMAN LAAC Device, and other advanced cardiovascular treatments available from Premier Health, visit

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