The John and Sylvia Stelly Regional Heart Center Team Celebrates The Successful Completion of 100 WATCHMAN™ procedures at CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital

February 11, 2021

Lake Charles, Louisiana - The John and Sylvia Stelly Heart Center’s team of cardiologists at CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital continues to provide the latest in cardiac technologies to care for patients in Southwestern Louisiana. In keeping that commitment, and as part of National Heart Month, the team, Richard Gilmore, M.D., Jake LeBeau, M.D., and Thomas Mulhearn, M.D., recently announced the completion of its 100th WATCHMAN™ procedure.

The procedure, a game-changer for patients suffering from non-valvular atrial fibrillation, was first performed in Southwestern Louisiana at CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital in February 2019.

“In less than an hour we are able to give patients at the greatest risk for stroke a new lease on life,” said Richard Gilmore, M.D., Cardiologist, CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital.

Atrial fibrillation is very common; an estimated five million Americans are affected by the condition – an irregular heartbeat that feels like a quivering heart. People with AFib have a five times greater risk of stroke than those with normal heart rhythms.

“In most cases, the only other option patients have to treat non-valvular AFib is life-long use of blood thinners.”

The WATCHMAN has been implanted in more than 100,000 patients worldwide. It is the only FDA approved device of its kind; clinical research shows it effectively reduces the risk of stroke without patients having to worry about bleeding issues due to prolonged use of blood thinners. It is about the size of a quarter and looks like a tiny parachute, and is implanted through a catheter threaded through a leg vein to the heart’s left atrial appendage (LAA). The WATCHMAN seals off the LAA to prevent potentially harmful blood clots from traveling to other parts of the body and causing a stroke.

“Patients currently taking blood thinners in an effort to control AFib should talk to their cardiologist about the Watchman as an alternative. For those who qualify, the benefits are life-changing, said Thomas Mulhearn, M.D., Cardiologist, CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital.

Major benefits for patients implanted with the WATCHMAN are a shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery time. The procedure is minimally invasive and is performed under general anesthesia in less than an hour. Patients are generally able to leave the hospital the next day.

To learn more about the WATCHMAN™ device or to make an appointment, please call 337-491-7577 or click here.