Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE: BSX) has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device. The WATCHMAN Device offers a new stroke risk reduction option for high-risk patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation who are seeking an alternative to long-term warfarin therapy. The WATCHMAN Device will be made available to U.S. centers involved in our clinical studies and additional, specialized centers as physicians are trained on the implant procedure.
The WATCHMAN Device is indicated to reduce the risk of thromboembolism from the left atrial appendage in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation who are at increased risk for stroke and systemic embolism based on CHADS2 or CHA2DS2-VASc scores, are deemed by their physicians to be suitable for warfarin; and have an appropriate rationale to seek a non-pharmacologic alternative to warfarin, taking into account the safety and effectiveness of the device compared to warfarin.
"The WATCHMAN Device is an important step forward in stroke management for patients with AF," said Vivek Reddy, M.D., Director of the Cardiac Arrhythmia Service at the Mount Sinai Medical Center and co-principal investigator of the PROTECT AF and PREVAIL studies. "We know that up to 40 percent of patients who are eligible for oral anticoagulation do not take it for numerous reasons1, highlighting the need for additional treatment options. The WATCHMAN Device is a breakthrough treatment providing those patients who are suitable for warfarin with an implant-based alternative to long-term warfarin therapy while still reducing the risk of stroke."
The FDA approval of the WATCHMAN Device is based on the robust WATCHMAN clinical program which consists of numerous studies, with more than 2,400 patients and nearly 6,000 patient-years of follow-up. The WATCHMAN clinical program provided strong evidence that the WATCHMAN Device can be implanted safely2 and reduces the risk of stroke in eligible patients while enabling most patients to discontinue warfarin3. Additionally, a meta-analysis of all of the randomized trial data demonstrated that while ischemic stroke reduction favored warfarin, the WATCHMAN Device provided patients with a comparable protection against all-cause stroke and statistically superior reductions in hemorrhagic stroke, disabling stroke, and cardiovascular death compared to warfarin over long-term follow-up.4
"Today marks a defining moment in the company's journey towards establishing left atrial appendage closure therapy in the United States. Boston Scientific is proud to offer this potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment option to high-risk patients with AF who have a reason to seek a non-drug alternative to warfarin. This therapy could free them from the challenges of long-term warfarin therapy," said Joe Fitzgerald, executive vice president and president, Rhythm Management, Boston Scientific. "FDA approval of the WATCHMAN Device is another example of Boston Scientific delivering on its commitment to bring meaningful innovations to patient care."
The WATCHMAN Device has been commercially available internationally since 2009 and is the leading device in percutaneous left atrial appendage closure globally. It is registered in 75 countries and more than 10,000 patients have been treated with the WATCHMAN Device.
About Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke
For additional information about atrial fibrillation and stroke, you can read our backgrounder.
About the WATCHMAN LAAC Device
The WATCHMAN LAAC Device is a catheter-delivered heart implant designed to close the left atrial appendage (LAA) in order to prevent the migration of blood clots from the LAA, and thus, reduce the incidence of stroke and systemic embolism for higher risk patients with non-valvular AF. The LAA is a thin, sack-like appendix arising from the heart and is believed to be the source of >90 percent of stroke-causing clots that come from the left atrium in patients with non-valvular AF.4
About Boston Scientific
Boston Scientific transforms lives through innovative medical solutions that improve the health of patients around the world. As a global medical technology leader for more than 35 years, we advance science for life by providing a broad range of high performance solutions that address unmet patient needs and reduce the cost of healthcare. For more information, visit www.bostonscientific.com and connect on Twitter and Facebook.
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