"This book is incredibly complete and easy-to-understand for anybody. I certainly recommend it for patients who want to know more about atrial fibrillation than what they will learn from doctors...."

Pierre Jaïs, M.D. Professor of Cardiology, Haut-Lévêque Hospital, Bordeaux, France

"Dear Steve, I saw a patient this morning with your book [in hand] and highlights throughout. She loves it and finds it very useful to help her in dealing with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Wilber Su Cavanaugh Heart Center, Phoenix, AZ

"Your book [Beat Your A-Fib] is the quintessential most important guide not only for the individual experiencing atrial fibrillation and his family, but also for primary physicians, and cardiologists."

Jane-Alexandra Krehbiel, nurse, blogger and author "Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness"


"Steve Ryan's summaries of the Boston A-Fib Symposium are terrific. Steve has the ability to synthesize and communicate accurately in clear and simple terms the essence of complex subjects. This is an exceptional skill and a great service to patients with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Jeremy Ruskin of Mass. General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

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Carolyn Thomas, blogger and heart attack survivor; MyHeartSisters.org

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Terry Traver, former A-Fib patient

"If you want to do some research on AF go to A-Fib.com by Steve Ryan, this site was a big help to me, and helped me be free of AF."

Roy Salmon Patient, A-Fib Free; pacemakerclub.com, Sept. 2013

Watchman Devise Story #48

Anemic & Slow Heart, Has Pacemaker; At 80-Year-old Gets a Watchman Device for Stroke Risk

Revelacion Abracosa

Revelacion Abracosa

by Revelacion Abracosa, 2011

[This story is about use of the Watchman device for a patient with increased risk of stroke, but who does not have atrial fibrillation.]

Even as a child my heart rate was slow, and I’ve always been anemic. Other than that, my overall health is good. I have no other health problems.

Anemic and Pulse Rate Only 32 BPM – Gets Pacemaker in 2003

Over the years doctors tried many tests to find out why I am anemic, but to no avail. At one point a specialist thought there was a problem with my liver. He admitted me to a hospital and scheduled a biopsy of my liver. But when they took my vitals, my heart rate was only 32. They couldn’t understand why I didn’t faint. But I drive a car and never felt dizzy.

They said a pulse of 32 is too low and recommended I get a pacemaker. My sister-in-law is a doctor in Manila (Revelacion was born in the Philippines). She also advised me to get a pacemaker. I had a single wire pacemaker installed in 2003 (a single wire pacemaker paces only one ventricle). I did feel better. The pacemaker keeps my pulse around 60.

In 2008 I needed to change the battery in my pacemaker. The doctor installed a two wire pacemaker (which paces both ventricles).

2010 Clinical Trial: Watchman Device as Alternative to Coumadin For Stroke Risk

I was taking aspirin at that time, but I was worried about having an accident. My blood is thinner than a normal person’s. I don’t like Coumadin. My brother had the same problem as I. He was given Coumadin and didn’t survive. Our systems don’t react well to Coumadin.

Dr. Shephal Doshi (Pacific Heart Institute, Los Angeles, CA) explained to me an alternative to having to take blood thinners―the Watchman device can be installed to close off the Left Atrial Appendage where most clots originate. I have a friend who had the Watchman device installed. Her experience was positive. That’s why I had the nerve to go ahead.

On December 15, 2010 I had the Watchman device installed in my heart. I was part of a research study which kept the expense of the procedure to a minimum. 

I had to be on Coumadin for 45 days after the Watchman procedure, to make sure there was no clotting. But after the 45 days on Coumadin, I had to have a transfusion of two pints of blood. I don’t react well to blood thinners.

Life Good with the Watchman Device

It’s 2011 and I feel OK. I don’t feel any different. I don’t feel anything, though it’s only been seven months since I had the Watchman device installed. I feel positive about it. I haven’t taken any blood thinners since the last six months. My endurance is good. When the doctors examined me, there was no indication of any problem, clotting, etc.

I hope the costs of having the Watchman device installed will go down. I never could have afforded it without being part of a clinical trial. People my age have to consider finances.  

Revelacion Abracosa
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Editor’s comments:
Revelacion Abracosa was born in the Philippines and graduated from the University of Manila as an architect. She raised her family in the Philippines, then brought them to the US in 1967. She has four children―three girls and one boy, nine grandchildren and one great granddaughter (her youngest granddaughter has had three heart transplants!). A US citizen, in 1978 she passed her architecture exams to become a licensed architect in the US. She was involved in Los Angeles city management both as an architect and as a board member of the Los Angeles Building and Safety Commission (appointed by Mayor Tom Bradley). She has been a volunteer in the Woman’s Health Initiative for over 20 years. She is active in her Methodist church.
She explains why at age 80 she had the Watchman device installed in her heart in December, 2010.

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