Lahey Hospital & Medical Center is first in Massachusetts to Implant New Heart Device

Innovative Watchman Device is an alternative treatment for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation and has been shown to reduce patients’ risk of stroke 

BURLINGTON, MA (June 8, 2015) – Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, is thrilled to offer patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AFIB) the newly approved Watchman Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) implant. Lahey Hospital & Medical Center is the first hospital in Massachusetts to offer the treatment as an alternative to long-term blood-thinning medication*.

“The new Watchman LAAC implant provides physicians with a breakthrough option for reducing the risk of stroke in patients with non-valvular AFIB,” said Bruce G. Hook, M.D., Director of the Cardiac Arrhythmia Service at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. “For patients who are seeking an alternative to taking blood thinning medications like warfarin or Coumadin, the Watchman offers a potentially life-changing treatment, which ultimately could free them from the challenges of long-term blood thinning therapy. We are proud to once again offer cutting edge and innovative medical treatments that help improve the quality of life for our patients.”

People with atrial fibrillation have a five times greater risk of stroke because AFIB can cause blood to pool and form clots in the left atrial appendage (LAA).  For patients with non-valvular AFIB, the LAA is believed to be the source of the majority of stroke-causing blood clots. 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 and other parts of the body and cause serious irreversible damage.

The Watchman implant closes off the left atrial appendage in order to keep harmful blood clots from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke.  By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke is reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking blood thinners.  

Implanting the Watchman Device is a one-time procedure that usually lasts about an hour. It is a minimally-invasive procedure not requiring surgery. Following the procedure, patients typically stay in the hospital for 24 hours.

*Surgical photos of first procedure available upon request  

About Lahey Health 

Lahey Health is what's next in healthcare, providing a full continuum of integrated health services close to where you live or work. It is comprised of nationally recognized, award-winning hospitals—including an academic hospital and medical center, and community hospitals—primary care providers, specialist physicians, behavioral health services, post-acute programs such as home health services, skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities, and senior care resources located throughout northeastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. 

Lahey Health offers nearly 1,000 locally based physicians providing clinical excellence and an exceptional patient experience in adult and pediatric primary care and every medical specialty, including kidney and liver transplantation; neurosurgery, cancer, cardiovascular and orthopedic medical and surgical care; local emergency and trauma care; urological surgery; chronic disease prevention and health management; and pediatric emergency, newborn and inpatient care provided in collaboration with Boston Children's Hospital physicians. 

Lahey Health includes Lahey Hospital & Medical Center—a teaching hospital of Tufts University School of Medicine—and Lahey Clinic physician group with practices in Burlington, Peabody and other locations throughout northeastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire; Beverly Hospital; Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester, Mass.; Winchester Hospital; Lahey Health Senior Care and Lahey Health Behavioral Services as well as more than 30 primary care physician practices and multiple outpatient and satellite specialty care facilities. 

Together, we are making innovative, integrated healthcare more personal and more accessible. For more information, visit LaheyHealth.org and its member websites Lahey Hospital & Medical CenterBeverly Hospital, Winchester Hospital, and Lahey Health Behavioral Services.