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DCH Health System Uses Advanced Device to Reduce Stroke Risk

DCH Health System Uses Advanced Device to Reduce Stroke Risk

DCH Health System Uses Advanced Device to Reduce Stroke Risk

(Aug. 18, 2022, Tuscaloosa, Ala.) – Physicians working with the DCH Health System are helping to reduce stroke risk in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) by utilizing advanced technology known as the Watchman Device.

Atrial fibrillation (Afib) is a common heart rhythm issue that increases the risk of stroke. Old methods of managing Afib are with blood thinners that are often administered for life. Blood thinners come with their own set of risks such as an increased risk of bleeding when injured.

Blood clots are most likely to occur in the left atrial appendage (in the left atrium). This appendage is a small pouch that generally gets less blood flow than the rest of the heart. In some patients, clots are more likely to form in this area, travel to the brain and cause a stroke. The Watchman Device is essentially a little basket or filter that is placed at the entrance to the left atrial appendage. The basket prevents blood from pooling in the appendage which reduces the chances of clots forming and passing to other more vulnerable areas of the body.

“The Watchman device offers a simple yet elegant solution to certain atrial fibrillation patients whose lifestyle, job or health condition puts them at a significantly increased risk for major bleeding,” said Amit Shah, MD, cardiologist. “This minimally-invasive procedure allows individuals with this condition to live with less anxiety as it reduces the risk of bleeding from blood thinners or stroke from a clot.”

The procedure is minimally invasive. A catheter is inserted through a leg vein and guided up to the heart to insert the device. This is a one-time procedure that lasts a lifetime.

Currently the procedure is offered by Amit Shah, MD, Vishal Dahya, MD, and Nada Memon, MD.

About DCH

DCH Health System is a public, not-for-profit health system located in West Alabama. For nearly 100 years, DCH has provided quality health care to the people of West Alabama. DCH Health System includes DCH Regional Medical Center, Northport Medical Center and Fayette Medical Center. The DCH Rehabilitation Pavilion is located on the Northport Medical Center campus. For more about DCH, visit