Good Samaritan Hospital Offers an Alternative to Long-Term Warfarin Medication for Atrial Fibrillation with Newly Approved Watchman™ LAAC Implant

May 18, 2015, 14:13 ET from Good Samaritan Hospital, Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, May 18, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Good Samaritan Hospital is one of the first hospitals in California to offer patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (a-fib) an alternative to long-term warfarin medication with the newly approved Watchman™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Implant.

For patients with atrial fibrillation who are considered suitable for warfarin by their physicians but who have reason to seek a non-drug alternative, the Watchman LAAC Implant is an alternative to reduce their risk of AF-related stroke.  The Watchman Implant is a permanent implant designed to close the left atrial appendage in the heart to keep harmful clots 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 warfarin.  

People with atrial fibrillation have a five times greater risk of stroke.[i]  Atrial fibrillation can cause blood to pool and form clots in the LAA.  For patients with non-valvular a-fib, the LAA is believed to be the source of the majority of stroke-causing blood clots.[ii]  If a clot forms in the LAA, it can increase one's risk of having a stroke. Blood clots can break loose and travel in the blood stream to the brain, lungs, and other parts of the body.

"The new Watchman LAAC Implant provides physicians with a breakthrough stroke risk reduction option for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation," said Steven Burstein, M.D. cardiologist at Good Samaritan Hospital.  "For patients with non-valvular a-fib who are seeking an alternative to warfarin, the Watchman Implant offers a potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment option which could free them from the challenges of long-term warfarin therapy."

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.

About Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (a-fib) is a heart condition where the upper chambers of the heart (atrium) beat too fast and with an irregular rhythm (fibrillation). A-fib is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, currently affecting more than five million Americans.[iii]  Twenty percent of all strokes occur in patients with a-fib, and a-fib related strokes are more frequently fatal and disabling.[iv][v]  The most common treatment to reduce stroke risk in patients with a-fib 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 a-fib patients eligible for warfarin are currently untreated due to tolerance and adherence issues.[vi]

The Watchman Implant is designed to close the LAA in order to keep harmful blood clots from the LAA from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke for higher risk patients with non-valvular a-fib.  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: 

First opened in 1885, Good Samaritan Hospital is a 408-bed tertiary care facility offering some of the most comprehensive care in Los Angeles.  Specializing in cardiac services, women's services, orthopedics, oncology, and ophthalmology, Good Samaritan Hospital offers cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, neurosciences program featuring the Gamma Knife radiosurgery, ophthalmologic program including retinal surgery, orthopedic surgical program including sports medicine and major joint replacements, oncology program using the latest in radiation therapy, kidney stone services,  Transfusion-Free Medicine and Surgery Center, and emergency services.  For more information visit

[i] Holmes DR, Seminars in Neurology 2010; 30:528-536
[ii] Blackshear J. and Odell J., Annals of Thoracic Surgery.  1996;61:755-759
[iii] Colilla et al., Am J Cardiol.  2013; 112:1142-1147
[iv] Hart RG, Halperin JL., Ann Intern Med.  1999; 131:688-695
[v] McGrath ER, Neurology 2103; 81:825-832
[vi] Waldo, AL. JACC 2055; 46-1729-1736


SOURCE Good Samaritan Hospital, Los Angeles