Southside Hospital Is First in Suffolk to Use Device to Prevent People with an Irregular Heartbeat from Having a Stroke

             BAY SHORE, NY – Southside Hospital is the first in Suffolk County to use an implantable device that helps prevent strokes in patients who have an irregular heartbeat.

            The device, called the WATCHMAN, is an alternative for people who have an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation and cannot tolerate long term blood-thinning medications. The WATCHMAN, which is about the size of a quarter, closes a small sack of tissue that comes off the heart. This small sack of tissue is termed the left atrial appendage (LAA) accounts and over 90% of the blood clots that develop in patients with atrial fibrillation form in the LAA. This device prevents blood clots that form in that sack from getting into a person’s blood stream and causing a stroke.

            “This device will be able to help many patients with atrial fibrillation who have an elevated stroke risk and cannot take long term blood thinning medications for protection,” said Erik J. Altman, MD, chief of electrophysiology at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore. “Many patients who have atrial fibrillation have had a problem in the past taking blood thinners such as bleeding or may have a future risk such as falling which can be very dangerous when they are on these medications. This is another step in our efforts to offer patients new options in the setting of high-quality cardiac care”. The WATCHMAN procedure on average takes less than 1 hour and patients can go home the next day.

            Southside Hospital offers cutting edge, comprehensive therapy for atrial fibrillation to treat the arrhythmia with ablation and reduce stroke risk with appendage occlusion.

            For more information about the WATCHMAN and other cardiology services at Southside Hospital, call 631-591-7400.

About North Shore-LIJ Health System -- North Shore-LIJ is changing its name to Northwell Health in January 2016.
One of the nation's largest health systems, the health system delivers world-class clinical care throughout the New York metropolitan area, pioneering research at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, a visionary approach to medical education highlighted by the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, and healthcare coverage to individuals, families and businesses through the CareConnect Insurance Co. Inc. The health system cares for people at every stage of life at 21 hospitals and about 450 outpatient physician practices throughout the region. The health system’s owned hospitals and long-term care facilities house more than 6,600 beds, employ more than 15,000 nurses and have affiliations with nearly 13,600 physicians. With a workforce of more than 61,000, the health system is the largest private employer in New York State.  For more information, go to

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