All Things Heart 3-28-24

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


Key points from today’s guests:

Charles Richardson, 1,000th patient to undergo Watchman procedure

  • While there are millions of Americans are taking blood thinners as a preventative treatment to avoid blood clots, many are not a good fit for blood thinners. Charles is one of them.
  • At 79, he has had multiple heart surgeries, including a quintuple bypass valve replacement and a pacemaker. But he also has ITP, a blood platelet disorder that can cause abnormal bleeding.
  • Charles has AFib, which stands for atrial fibrillation (AF) -- a type of arrhythmia, or abnormal heartbeat.
  • He was the 1,000th patient at The Health System to have the Watchman procedure, which took about an hour. He was back home within a day and is doing all the activities he used to do.
  • He said the specialists here are outstanding and if they give you advice, go for it. Don't wait till you're in your late 70s to try to fix something that should have been fixed 20 years ago.

Dr. Madhu Reddy, cardiologist, electrophysiologist, The University of Kansas Health System

  • AFib is a very common and the most common abnormal rhythm of the heart.
  • When patients are in AFib, the upper chambers, instead of squeezing, they just fibrillate and that increases the risk of stroke. And that's why we start patients on blood thinners to prevent the blood clot and the stroke.
  • At around 70 to 80 years of age, about 40 percent of patients cannot take blood thinners for one reason or the other. And for those patients in the past, we didn't have an option. But now we have this Watchmen procedure so we will be able to get them off the blood thinners and still protect them from having a stroke.
  • In the case of Charles, since blood thinners were not an option, we performed the Watchman procedure, which we start from the vein in the groin and insert the device in the appendix of the heart. It stays there for the rest of the patient’s life.
  • This procedure dramatically decreases the risk of stroke. It's not always zero, but more than 90 percent of strokes can be prevented by this procedure.
  • The technology has come a long way since the first several Watchman procedures.
  • There is also a new procedure called Farapulse treatment -- a revolutionary technology that is going to be the future for most patients who undergo ablation.

Friday, Mar. 29 at 8 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. What does long COVID recovery look like when an infection triggers a much bigger problem? Get an update from one woman still being treated nearly four years after her COVID infection.

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