Mercy Health - Cincinnati, which provides advanced, quality, compassionate care in your neighborhood through its care network, announces that cardiologists with Mercy Health – The Heart Institute have reached a significant milestone with a revolutionary stroke prevention treatment available for patients with atrial fibrillation, or A-fib.

Mercy Health Physicians and heart experts Reza Mehzad, MD, RP Singh, MD and Anil Verma, MD have implanted the Watchman device in more than 50 patients. They perform the procedure at Mercy Health – West Hospital. The procedure involves the onetime placement of the Watchman implant to prevent potentially dangerous strokes associated with A-fib.

A-fib is a condition that causes the left atria of the heart to quiver, allowing clot formation in the left atrial appendage. The left atrial appendage is a small pouch that sits in the muscle wall of the top left chamber of the heart. Clots that form in the appendage are at risk of dislodging and traveling to the brain which can cause a stroke.

The Watchman device, which is shaped like a jellyfish, closes the left atrial appendage, preventing clots from dislodging and migrating to brain and thus reducing the risk of stroke.

“I’m 65 years old and my father lived to be 78, so that’s my benchmark. But I’d like to live to be 85 and I think I can now that I have 70 percent less chance of a stroke,” said Mercy Health patient James Hatley of Winton Place. Hatley received the Watchman implant earlier this year.

“Receiving a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation is disconcerting enough. Knowing that the condition can place you at greater risk for stroke can rob patients and their families of peace of mind. The Watchman can help restore that in patients for whom blood thinners aren’t an option,” said Brenda VanDeVenter, Executive Director of Mercy Health – The Heart Institute. “Mercy Health is proud to have an experienced team of heart experts available to care for patients needing the Watchman device to help prevent clots that can lead to stroke.”

Candidates for the Watchman device include patients who have A-fib:

  • can’t be on long-term anti-clotting medications
  • are prone to bleeding and falls
  • experience bleeding events

Cardiologists introduce the Watchman through the femoral vein in a procedure that takes about one hour from start to finish. Most patients leave the hospital within 24 hours and are off anticoagulant medication within six months.

To learn more about the Watchman procedure, please call Mercy Health Watchman Coordinator Kelly Schmutte, RN, at 513-490-9826.

The following physicians implant the Watchman device:

  • Dr. Mehzad, Mercy Health - The Heart Institute, Fairfield and West, 513-751-4222
  • Dr. Singh, Mercy Health – The Heart Institute, Anderson and Clermont, 513-624-2070
  • Dr. Verma, Mercy Health – The Heart Institute, West and Harrison, 513-215-9200