Surgical team pioneers Kevin Burns, M.D., Shephal Doshi, M.D., Sanjay Bhojraj, M.D., and Jay Tiongson, M.D.
Transhepatic WATCHMAN FLX procedure — a rare, lifesaving approach at Providence Mission Hospital
Patients with atrial fibrillation have an exponentially higher risk of stroke because of how irregular heartbeats allow blood to pool in the small corner of the left atrial appendage. This location is where 90% of stroke-causing blood clots form, forcing patients to take blood thinning medication. The WATCHMAN FLX procedure provides patients with an alternative method to everyday blood thinner usage while maintaining an equal level of stroke protection without the bleeding risk.
Traditionally, physicians insert the WATCHMAN FLX device through the right femoral vein in the groin and pass it through a catheter into the heart’s right side and then across to the left atrium where the left atrial appendage is located. In January 2022, one patient had a medical condition that did not allow the device to be deployed via the usual femoral vein approach. Instead, the surgical team put their heads together and mapped out a plan to execute an alternative route for the WATCHMAN FLX deployment by accessing the major vein in the liver.
Because of generous donor support of the cardiac catheterization lab, this was the third time this innovative transhepatic WATCHMAN FLX approach was ever performed in the world. Our patient did extremely well post-procedure, as he was walking around his hospital room within a few hours and was discharged home the next day by lunchtime. This is another example of the groundbreaking, world-class, highest level of care we are providing here at Providence Mission Hospital.
Together, we can provide care that transforms lives, now and for years to come.