Boston Scientific’s Watchman left atrial appendage closure device has been implanted in the first group of patients at Angiografia de Occidente in Cali, Colombia.

The device, for use in patients in atrial fibrillation who are at risk of stroke and are eligible for long-term oral anticoagulation therapy, is designed to prevent clots within the appendage from being dislodged into the bloodstream, reducing the risk of ischaemic stroke and systemic thromboembolism.

In the multicentre, randomised PROTECT AF clinical trial, the Watchman device was proved to be non-inferior to warfarin and demonstrated a 38% risk reduction for a combined measure of stroke, cardiovascular death and systemic embolism compared to long-term warfarin therapy.

The study also reported a 29% relative risk reduction in all strokes, and a 90% risk reduction in haemorrhagic stroke, compared with warfarin.

Angiografia de Occidente interventional cardiologist Bernardo Caicedo said that the device will provide safe and improved alternative for atrial fibrillation patients who cannot take long-term oral anticoagulants.