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WATCHMAN Procedure Provides Lifelong Alternative to Blood Thinners for Patients with AFib

Posted Date: 5/24/2022
Steve Hedio Jr.

Steve Hedio Jr. (middle) with his family

According to the CDC, an estimated 2.7 to 6.1 million people in the United States have Atrial Fibrillation (AFib). Steve Hedio Jr. was among this statistic and relied on blood thinners for nearly ten years before the Mon Health Heart & Vascular Center identified him as a candidate for the WATCHMAN procedure.

AFib is a cardiovascular disease that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood normally. Many patients with AFib are at risk for a stroke when blood clots form in a small pouch of the left atrium. The Boston Scientific FDA-approved WATCHMAN device reduces the risk of stroke by addressing the issue and eliminating the need for long term blood thinners. 

“I was being treated with a blood thinner because I was in AFib all of the time. Dr. Bingi mentioned I might be a candidate for the WATCHMAN procedure,” he said. “I was chosen to receive the surgery and it was scheduled for April 6, 2022.”

To implant the WATCHMAN device, Dr. Wissam Gharib made a small cut into Steve’s upper leg and guided it into the left atrial appendage of his heart. Steve received his approximate one-hour surgery at noon on April 6 and was recovering at home the same evening.

Dr. Gharib was very knowledgeable, he is a great doctor. I could tell he knew what he was doing, and I had complete faith in him,” he said. “I have had follow up care with my cardiologist Dr. Bingi. With Dr. Bingi, I never feel like he is in a rush, he really takes his time to make sure that I am comfortable.”

Steve is a native of Marion County and a veteran. He enjoys playing golf, watching spectator sports, and staying active during his retirement. He has been married to his wife, Karen, for nearly 46 years and together they share one son, Chris, and two grandchildren. 

“I feel much more confident knowing that I get to stop taking blood thinners. My quality of life will be better, and I won’t have to worry about accidents that could cause me bleeding or bruising.” 

To learn more about the WATCHMAN procedure, visit MonHealth.com/WATCHMAN. To learn more about the Mon Health Heart & Vascular Center, visit MonHealth.com/Heart

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