Third transhepatic Watchman FLX procedure in the world performed at Providence Mission Hospital

February 25, 2022 Providence News Team

From left to right: Dr. Kevin Burns, Dr. Shephal Doshi, Dr. Sanjay Bhojraj, Dr. Jay Tiongson

On January 26, 2022, the third transhepatic Watchman FLX procedure in the world was performed at Providence Mission Hospital. This rare procedure was accomplished by Drs. Sanjay Bhojraj and Jay Tiongson of the structural heart team, Dr. Kevin Burns of interventional radiology, and Dr. Shephal Doshi, electrophysiologist from our sister ministry, Providence Saint John’s in Santa Monica.

Watchman is a minimally invasive procedure for people with atrial fibrillation who need an alternative to blood thinners. Traditionally, the Watchman device is inserted via the patient’s femoral vein in the right groin. The device is then passed up to the heart and into the left atrial appendage in the left atrium.

However, in this complex case, the patient had a condition that prevented the Watchman device from passing into the heart using the conventional approach. Instead, Dr. Burns provided an alternative route for the Watchman device by accessing the major vein in the liver. This allowed Drs. Bhojraj, Tiongson, and Doshi to deliver the Watchman device into the main vein leading to the heart. The Watchman device was successfully deployed and the access site through the liver was safely closed.

Within hours, the patient was up and walking around his room and was discharged home before lunchtime the following morning. The success of this case demonstrates the power of the interdisciplinary and cross-ministry collaboration of the Providence health system and proves why Providence Mission Hospital is the place for world-class cardiac care in South Orange County.

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