Quick Access to UHS MyChart

Free and secure access to your UHS healthcare team and services.

UHS celebrates 100th 'Watchman' procedure

June 10, 2020

UHS has performed the 100th procedure using an advanced mesh-like implant that can reduce the risk of stroke in patients with an irregular heartbeat.

UHS doctors have been using the “Watchman” device for three years, since performing the first procedure at UHS Wilson Medical Center in 2017.

UHS was the first hospital in the Southern Tier to begin using Watchman.

Known formally as the “Watchman left atrial appendage device," the implant is a proven alternative to the long-term use of blood thinners to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. 

Watchman is one of a wide range of heart procedures offered through the UHS Heart & Vascular Institute and performed at UHS Wilson, as hospitals resume elective surgeries and other operations in New York State in the wake of the COVID-19 pause.

As safety is always the top priority at UHS, the organization has all necessary precautions in place to ensure the safety and well-being of patients and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Atrial fibrillation, sometimes called "AFib," affects the heart’s ability to pump blood properly. This can cause blood to pool in an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage. There, the blood cells can stick together and form a clot. 

Watchman offers a potentially life-changing stroke-risk treatment option that can free patients from the challenges of long-term blood-thinner use.

This alternative is for people with the type of atrial fibrillation that is not caused by heart valve problems. It is for patients who cannot take blood thinners due to bleeding issues or who have a lifestyle that puts them at risk for bleeding.

Watchman is a screen-and-net-like device that is delivered by a catheter using a minimally invasive approach. It is designed to permanently block off the appendage and keep the clots that can cause strokes from escaping.  After a procedure, most patients will go home the next day.

The first procedure using the device in this region was completed in May 2017 at the Heart & Vascular Institute by a Watchman team of highly specialized cardiologists: Waseem Sajjad, MD; Alon Yarkoni, MD; and Afzal ur Rehman, MD, PhD.

To date, more than 20,000 Watchman procedures have been performed worldwide.