Banner North Colorado Medical Center Celebrates Milestone 250th Watchman Procedure for Stroke Prevention
The Banner North Colorado Medical Center has reached a significant milestone in stroke prevention with the completion of its 250th minimally invasive Watchman procedure. This achievement marks a major advancement in the hospital’s efforts to provide innovative solutions for patients at risk of stroke.
Dr. David Bicknell, a renowned cardiologist and electrophysiologist at Banner Health, led the team in conducting the 250th procedure on February 5, 2021, since the program’s inception in 2016. Over the years, the medical center faced challenges in performing the surgery due to limitations with previous models and devices, as well as issues with reimbursement and approval. However, the introduction of the new Watchman FLX device in 2021 has significantly improved the success rate of the procedures, making them more accessible and effective for patients.
The WATCHMAN, a permanent implant about the size of a quarter, offers an alternative to blood thinners by closing the left atrial appendage in the heart. This containment of clots in the area reduces the risk of stroke, providing patients with a safer and more efficient solution for stroke prevention. The minimally invasive procedure involves the insertion of a catheter through a blood vessel in the patient’s groin, which is then maneuvered to the left atrial appendage where the device is implanted. Most patients are able to be discharged on the same day, and the success rate of placement is an impressive 95%, in line with the national average.
Dr. Bicknell emphasized that the achievement of the 250th procedure was a team effort, crediting the Cath lab team, acute recovery unit, anesthesiology, general imaging cardiology, the structural heart team, and Dr. Shane Rowan for their invaluable contributions to the program’s success. The entire team at Banner North Colorado Medical Center takes great pride in this significant milestone, which demonstrates their commitment to providing exceptional care to patients.
Patients with questions about atrial fibrillation or those looking to lower their risk of stroke are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their primary care provider to learn more about the innovative Watchman procedure and its potential benefits for their health. With the completion of the 250th procedure, Banner North Colorado Medical Center continues to lead the way in stroke prevention and patient care, offering hope and improved outcomes for individuals at risk of stroke.