New Cardiac Technologies in West and Northwest Regions
November 3, 2021 | 2 min. to read
Tonye Teme, MD, and Asad Sheikh, MD, perform the first WATCHMAN implant at McHenry Hospital.
Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is expanding the availability of two innovative technologies used in the care and evaluation of cardiac issues:
The WATCHMAN™ implant to reduce the risk of stroke for people with atrial fibrillation
Fractional flow reserve cardiac CT analysis from HeartFlow® to improve evaluation of coronary artery disease
WATCHMAN program expands to West and Northwest regions WATCHMAN is now available in the West Region at Central DuPage Hospital and in the Northwest Region at McHenry Hospital. Until now, it has only been available within Northwestern Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
WATCHMAN is a small device, essentially a plug, implanted in the left atrial appendage (LAA) of the heart. Atrial fibrillation (AF) can cause blood to pool in the LAA and form clots that lead to stroke. Typically, patients with AF take blood thinners to reduce the risk of stroke, but some patients are at high risk of bleeding and should not take blood thinners long-term. WATCHMAN isolates the LAA from the rest of the heart to prevent blood from pooling there.
The device may be appropriate for patients with chronic nonvalvular AF who are at risk of stroke and should not receive anticoagulant therapy long-term. WATCHMAN is implanted in a minimally invasive procedure, usually under general anesthesia, with next-day discharge. Patients must continue taking blood thinners for a few months after receiving the WATCHMAN implant.
To refer patients for a WATCHMAN evaluation in the Northwest Region:
Contact Cardiac Navigator Carlie Lesher at the Heart Valve Clinic at 815.759.4880.
To refer patients for a WATCHMAN evaluation in the West Region:
For outpatient referrals, in Epic, order Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device (LAAC) Referral (N/C/W Regions Only).
If you want a patient in the hospital to be seen during hospitalization, order a cardiology consult and put in the comments “Watchman consult.”
HeartFlow Analysis comes to CDH, with further expansion planned HeartFlow Analysis uses artificial intelligence and computational fluid dynamics to evaluate cardiac CT scans for fractional flow reserve (FFR). A CT scan alone provides a visualization of coronary artery disease, but it is not always clear if the disease is affecting blood flow to the heart. FFR-CT analysis from HeartFlow offers lesion-specific insights on both the extent of a blockage and the effect on blood flow.
“Fractional flow reserve through HeartFlow increases the accuracy of coronary CT and will allow for both anatomic and physiologic assessment of coronary artery disease in a single study,” says Chintan S. Desai, MD.
The technology is now available at CDH. Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute intends to launch HeartFlow at Delnor Hospital and Kishwaukee Hospital before year-end and subsequently in the Northwest Region.
Physicians do not need to order HeartFlow Analysis separately from CT angiographies. The reading cardiologist will flag appropriate cases for this analysis.