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Recently, the cardiovascular care team at Washington Health System’s main hospital, WHS Washington Hospital had a reason to celebrate.  Not only have they helped countless heart patients recover from various heart conditions, but recently they have helped 100 local patients suffering from non-valvular atrial fibrillation reduce their stroke risk without the use of blood thinners. This is all made possible with a device procedure called WATCHMAN.

100th Cake
Cupcakes and a cake were part of the celebration of WHS Washington Hospital’s 100th Watchman procedure.
100th Team
Pictured (L to R) - Kimberly McCrerey, RN, Dr. Benjamin Susco, Dr. Christopher Kolibash, Shelby Samson, RN, Amy Dolan, RN, Nate Stout, RN, Leanna Johns, RN, Dr. Sun Scolieri, Laken Dorris (Boston Scientific rep), Dawn Ulery (Boston Scientific rep)

Non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) is an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. AF is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, currently affecting more than five million Americans. 

Some facts about AF:

  • Patients with AF have a five-fold increased risk of stroke due to blood stagnating from the improperly beating atrium and the resulting blood clot formation.
  • Twenty percent of all strokes occur in patients with AF.
  • Stroke is more severe for patients with AF, as they have a 70 percent chance of death or permanent disability.
  • The most common treatment for stroke risk reduction in patients with AF is blood-thinning warfarin therapy. Despite its proven efficacy, long-term warfarin therapy is not well-tolerated by some patients due to numerous quality-of-life tradeoffs - like dietary restrictions and regular blood monitoring - and carries a significant risk for bleeding complications.

The WATCHMAN device procedure is a minimally invasive procedure for patients with atrial fibrillation. Roughly the size of a quarter, the WATCHMAN device is a type of AFib treatment that is performed to reduce the risk of strokes. This is a one-time procedure, implanted similarly to a stent.The device is small and light, and it cannot be seen or felt outside your body. To learn more about this procedure visit or


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