Publication by Alisha Duvall on Advances in Stroke Prevention

 Learn more about advances in Atrial Fibrillation & Strokes in an article written by our very own Alisha Duvall that was published in :


Advances in Stroke Prevention By Alisha Duvall   MSW/MFT, CEO of Alee Solutions

The WATCHMAN: Focusing on Stroke Risk Management

Ischemic stroke is one of the most serious consequence of atrial fibrillation (AF). With a five-times-higher risk of suffering a stroke for patients with AF, it is important for them to keep up to date on the evolving advances in preventative treatment options. On June 22, 2015 at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, (less than 300 miles from Louisville) the Heart Health Center Physicians were the first local physicians to implant the newest FDA-approved device that prevents stroke in patients with AF.

The WATCHMAN is a small device no larger than the size of a quarter and can be inserted during a catheter-based, minimally invasive one-time procedure by implanting directly into the heart via a vein in the leg. Just off the left atrial appendage is where blood clots form and can potentially break off and travel in the blood stream to the brain, causing a stroke. 

With AF sufferers being at a higher risk of stroke and with a greater chance of having a more serious stroke, it is exciting to know that there are new alternatives to the current daily medications available. In the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Dr. J. Mauricio Sanchez published the results of medical trials that revealed patients with the WATCHMAN device implanted showed a 54 percent reduction in cardiovascular mortality. Proven to prevent strokes just as well, this new advancement offers an efficient alternative to warfarin. Clark McKenzie, MD, physician at the Heart Health Center in St. Louis claimed, "this advanced technology can be life-changing for patients with atrial fibrillation. It allows them to decrease their stroke risk while avoiding blood thinners and their associated risk."

Dr. Sanchez, the lead physician who completed the procedure at Mercy Hospital said, "Blood-thinning medications like warfarin or Coumadin are quite effective in reducing the risk for stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. However, many of our patients cannot, or will not, tolerate these medications because of the incidence of bleeding. The WATCHMAN device is a solution for these atrial fibrillation patients, since it similarly reduces their stroke risk, but avoids their need for a lifetime of blood-thinners."

The Kentucky and Southern Indiana Stroke Association does not endorse any treatment option available but feels that keeping the community aware of evolving preventative treatments available to protect members of our community from stroke is our responsibility. As with any new treatment option available, the WATCHMAN may not be the best option for everyone, and we encourage you to consult with your MD about the best fit for you. To learn more about the trials conducted on the WATCHMAN or case studies visit  WATCHMAN TRIAL .  The press release -- Newly FDA-Approved Device for Stroke Prevention from the St. Louis Today, is also a beneficial resource to learn more about this ground- breaking procedure performed at Mercy Hospital. You may read more HERE.  -  By Alisha Duvall   MSW/MFT, CEO of Alee Solutions