CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital Celebrates 1,000th Successful WATCHMAN Procedure


CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances is proud to announce the 1,000th successful implant of the WATCHMAN device, a breakthrough cardiac procedure that can reduce the risk of stroke, with a minimally invasive procedure for patients with atrial fibrillation (Afib).

The WATCHMAN device is a tiny implant that closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage to keep harmful blood clots from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke. By closing off the left atrial appendage, the risk of stroke is reduced and over time, patients may be able to stop taking other medications.

“WATCHMAN has been an incredible device for us in the fight against atrial fibrillation by significantly decreasing the complications that Afib causes,” said Dr. Stan Weiner, medical director for electrophysiology at the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital. “It has been so well-received by our community and 1,000 patients so far, and we are looking forward to serving many more patients.”

Currently, an estimated 6 million Americans are affected by Afib – an irregular heartbeat that feels like a quivering heart. Those with Afib have a five-times greater risk of stroke than those with normal heart rhythms.

“The technology for treatment of Afib has gotten so much better over the years. It really is amazing what we can now do for patients,” said Dr. John Sims, electrophysiologist. “When we first started doing the procedure, it could take up to an hour and a half, now we can do them, generally, in 30 minutes. The procedure has really gained momentum and has been very positive for our community.”

The WATCHMAN device has been implanted in more than 150,000 patients worldwide and is a one-time procedure done by making a small incision in the patient’s upper leg, inserting a narrow tube, and guiding the device into the proper part of the heart. It is a permanent device that does not have to be replaced and cannot be seen outside of the body. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia with patients commonly stay in the hospital overnight and leave the next day.

“It is an honor to serve our community as we work strongly as a team to provide best-practice cardiovascular care while extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ,” said Deb Chelette, regional vice president of cardiovascular services. “We are extremely proud of our talented cardiac team who are performing this procedure with electrophysiologists and elevating the level of high-quality heart care, right here in East Texas.”