Apollo Hospitals, performs Watchman device implantation on Kenyan woman with irregular heartbeat

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 20th November 2019: Disease pertaining to heart remains the leading cause of death in the Middle East and North African region, accounting for over two-thirds of all deaths, according to a study. Of that, irregular heart problem is the most common, and responsible for about 15 to 20 percent of strokes; and if left untreated, it can double the risk of heart-related deaths.

In wake of the same, and to further educate MENA citizens on heart-related complications, Apollo Hospitals revealed a recent landmark achievement, where the leading healthcare facility performed a successful Watchman device implantation on an 83-year-old Kenyan woman, who was diagnosed with a disease called non-valvular atrial fibrillation, or irregular heart rhythm, with a high risk of developing a stroke.

Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Kalkekar, Consultant Interventional Cardiology, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai, led the team of well-trained medical specialists formed to handle the case of patient Zareena Patel from Nairobi. Patel was suffering from irregular heart rhythm for over two years before she had the implantation.

She was then taking blood thinners to reduce the risk of stroke, but it inevitably led to haemorrhage. This forced her to seek treatment at Apollo Hospitals where her case was referred to Dr. Kalkekar, who recommended an innovative treatment that would help her heart condition without increasing the risk of haemorrhage.

“Zareena underwent a procedure in which we successfully placed a left atrial closure device, also known as the Watchman device, in her heart. The procedure is complex but it is simple like angioplasty. Without the invasive surgery, just a simple groin puncture, we inserted the device to close the left atrial appendage, which is a small sac located at the top left chamber of the heart,” Dr. Kalkekar said.

The doctor, who has more than 12 years of experience in cardiology and has performed over 10,000 cardiac procedures, further explained: “Patients with atrial fibrillation have a high risk of blood clot formation. Zareena also had a high risk of clot formation. So, she was given strong blood thinners but the problem with blood thinners is that she had developed a brain haemorrhage. Not giving her a blood thinner, however, would lead to an increased risk of stroke.”

“Now Zareena will not have a risk of stroke because the clot-forming area has been closed. At the same time, there is no risk of bleeding because she is no longer taking medications for stroke prevention,” he added.

Patel’s health has dramatically improved since the procedure. She said that she was very happy with the care she received from Apollo Hospitals and was impressed with the availability of her doctors every time she had a question or a doubt. She was grateful that the team clearly explained the full details of the procedure to her and helped her get her life back.