LAFAYETTE, LA. (KLFY)- Patients on blood thinners for atrial fibrillation now have a new treatment option.

Doctors have performed the latest procedure aimed at helping heart patients.

The Cardiovascular Institute of the South is the first to perform the watchman device implant.

It reduces stroke risk for a lifetime and eliminates the need for blood thinners.

“We’re able to put a little device inside a certain part of the heart that prevents a blood clot from forming so they no longer have to take that blood thinner long term,” said interventional cardiologist Dr. Louis Salvaggio .

Salvaggio performed the first watchman implant last month. The Cardiovascular Institute of the South’s structural heart program is the only program to offer the three specialized heart procedures.

“We access the small vein in the leg and we are able to cross from one side of the heart to the other,” he said. “We can take pictures of the area in question then place a device that plus the hole.”

Salvaggio says patients usually go home the next day.
He says the other heart procedures they do, including the transcatheter valve replacement and the mitraclip valve repair, offers better alternatives to open heart surgery.

“I’s very rewarding that we can offer this to our patients here in Acadiana. It was a goal of mine in the groups to make sure we had all of these procedures for our patients and it really is rewarding to be able to offer it to everyone,” Salvaggio said.