UnityPoint Health – Trinity is celebrating an important cardiac milestone.

Recently they successfully gave their 250th patient the WATCHMAN device, which reduces the risk of blood clots, stroke and reliance on blood thinners for people with irregular heartbeats. This comes one year after they marked their 100th WATCHMAN procedure. The 100th procedure was completed in February 2022.

“We are proud to offer the WATCHMAN device at Trinity Heart Center. This achievement means 250 more lives have been improved,” says Kathy Pulley, director of cardiology services at UnityPoint Health – Trinity. “It’s a true testament to the hard work and dedication of our cardiology team to offer the best heart care in the Quad Cities region.”

Trinity began offering WATCHMAN in 2020 to help reduce stroke risk in people who have atrial fibrillation (AFib). WATCHMAN is an approved alternative to long-term blood thinner therapy for patients with AFib that is not caused by a heart valve problem. The procedure is minimally invasive, is done under general anesthesia and takes about an hour. Nearly 50% of patients can be discharged the same day and can return to their normal activities in a few days.

AFib is the most common type of heart arrhythmia and affects over five million people in the United States. Its most common complication is stroke. It’s estimated that about 90% of stroke-causing clots develop in an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA). The WATCHMAN device closes off the LAA to keep blood clots from entering the blood stream and causing a stroke. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke can be reduced, and over time, patients could be able to stop taking their blood-thinning medication.

“This one-time procedure means a lifetime of benefits for our patients,” says Dr. Helbert Acosta, MD with Cardiovascular Medicine, PLLC, who has performed the WATCHMAN procedure at UnityPoint Health – Trinity. “Many people with AFib are at a higher risk of stroke, robbing them of their peace of mind. The WATCHMAN device allows us to treat more patients and improve their overall quality of life effectively and safely.”

The WATCHMAN device has been implanted in over 200,000 patients. It’s a permanent device that doesn’t have to be replaced and can’t be seen outside the body. For more information, talk to your primary care physician, call (309) 779-2145 or click here.