British Hospital performed the first implant for the prevention of clots

Diario EL PAIS

A few days ago, the first implant of the Watchman Flex device in the country was successfully carried out at the British Hospital for the benefit of a patient with atrial fibrillation and a formal indication for anticoagulants who could not receive it due to high-risk bleeding.

It is estimated that 2% of the general population suffers from atrial fibrillation a percentage that rises to 10% in people over 65 years old and 20% in people over 70 years old.

Although it is not a new or experimental procedure, as it is registered and approved for its use by the Ministry of Public Health, it was not until last 6th of December that an implant of the Boston Scientific Watchman Flex device was performed in Uruguay.

The device is "an occlusion system of the left atrial appendage" of the heart, mentioned Dr. Gonzalo Varela, Coordinator of Interventional Cardiology and Arrhythmias of the Department of Cardiology of the British Hospital.

Nowadays the Watchman Flex device implant is the standard therapeutic response or indication "for those patients with atrial fibrillation who have a formal indication of anticoagulants for the prevention of clots, but they are contraindicated due to high bleeding risk," Varela said.

The arrhythmia specialist explained that "as the clot formation place is the left atrial appendage, evidence has shown that the placement of an occluding device effectively prevents the formation of subsequent systemic clots or cerebrovascular accidents."

The detachment of these clots, that once in the bloodstream can clog arteries, explains between 35 and 40% of these accidents.

Patients who cannot receive anticoagulants due to the risk of bleeding, either due to disease history or suffering from other pathologies, "were left in a risky situation," Varela explained.

The procedure consists of the introduction of "a device through the use of a catheter that once situated in the place it expands obstructing the left atrium where clots are formed and positioned."

He recalled that "international clinical researches have shown that this therapeutic answer is almost as effective as anticoagulants to prevent a clot," so patients who do not have a contraindication to anticoagulants due to risk of bleeding could also take it as an alternative.

The implantation of the Watchman Flex device is the number one recommendation of international guidelines for the subgroup of patients considered, that is, the one with the greatest support from scientific evidence.

Varela successfully carried out the first implant of this kind in the country, together with Dr. Sergio Tantessio, an echocardiographer from the Department of Cardiology of the British Hospital, with a Master's Degree in performing structural heart disease procedures, and the supervision of Dr. Pablo Liva, an expert Argentinian doctor in the use of this technique.

The patient was discharged the day after the procedure was performed. Varela highlighted the importance that the Watchman Flex device implant is available in Uruguay to prevent the occurrence of cerebrovascular accidents in patients with atrial fibrillation.

The Department of Cardiology has an Institute of Highly Specialized Medicine, which is available to the entire community, with the seal and the quality standards of the British Hospital.





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