Watchman deviceMUSC Health is the first hospital in South Carolina to offer a left atrial appendage (LAA) closure device that reduces stroke risk for high-risk patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. The WATCHMAN™, (Boston Scientific Corporation, Marlborough, MA) approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March 2015, is intended for percutaneous transcatheter closure of the LAA. Six of these devices have been implanted at MUSC Health by Frank A. Cuoco, M.D., MBA, Director of the Cardiac Electrophysiology Lab. “In atrial fibrillation, most blood clots that are responsible for stroke form in the LAA,” he says. “Implanting this device has been shown to be equivalent to warfarin for overall stroke prevention and superior to warfarin for reduction of bleeding and overall cardiovascular mortality.” Six weeks after implantation, patients are able to stop warfarin. They remain on clopidogrel and aspirin for 6 months while the device completely seals, and then require only aspirin going forward. This therapy offers a proven alternative to patients who cannot or do not want to use warfarin to reduce their risk of stroke.