Sandra Warneka came to Mercy Hospital after fainting at home. She had severe abdominal pain and felt very weak, after losing half of her blood volume from internal bleeding. She required blood transfusions and eventually improved. Sandra had been taking warfarin (Coumadin), a blood thinner, because of an irregular heart rhythm condition called atrial fibrillation. This made her very high risk for stroke, more than five times that of the general population, and because of this her doctors advised her to continue taking warfarin.
Due to her high risk for stroke and equally high risk for bleeding while taking blood thinners, her cardiologists at MHVI referred her to have a Watchman device implanted. This device was performed by MHVI specialists Dr. Joseph Lin and Dr. Jeffrey Chambers, who inserted it through a vein in her leg and steered it up to her heart. They deployed it to plug up a small pouch in the heart called the left atrial appendage, where blood pools and forms clots that can break off and cause strokes. The procedure took an hour to do and Sandra was discharged home the next day.