Implanted Device Potentially More Cost Effective than Medication for Afib Patients

The Watchman prevents blood clots from forming in the left atrial appendage and prevents strokes.

The superiority of an implanted device over medications for patients with irregular heart rhythms was suggested in a recent study.

The Watchman is a device that is implanted into the opening of the left atrial appendage (LAA) and can prevent blood clots from forming, according to the study published in Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology.

Blood clots in the LAA is a common occurrence in patients with atrial fibrillation and has the potential to cause a stroke if the clot circulates through the bloodstream. Tissue grows over the Watchman and prevents blood clots from ever forming in the spot, according to the study.

Researchers used data from the trials PROTECT AF and PREVAIL to analyze the cost-effectiveness of the Watchman compared with medications.

Researchers found that the device was more cost effective in the larger trial, PREVAIL AF. However, researchers said that long-term results are needed to better determine the device’s value.

What we know is that the PROTECT AF trial enrolled more patients and has longer follow-up at this time and this allows greater statistical certainty," concluded first author on the paper James Freeman, MD. "Based on that, the study may provide more certainty in terms of cost-effectiveness."

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