Rosendahl Succesfully Undergoes Heart Surgery

Some good news to end the week.  Yesterday, City Council Transportation Committee Chair Bill Rosendahl underwent successful surgery to treat atrial fibrillation, an abnormal rhythm of the heart.  The Councilman is resting comfortably and is expected to return home later today and resume duties next week.

Despite a recent move to remove Brentwood from the Wilshire Bus-Only lanes plan, Rosendahl has been a friend to Streetsblog and a leader on a host of transportation reform issues.  We wish him a rapid recovery from surgery and for positive results from the Watchman installed in his heart.

His office’s press release on the surgery can be read after the jump.

LOS ANGELES – Councilmember Bill Rosendahl is doing well after doctors performed a breakthrough surgical procedure to treat atrial fibrillation.

Just three hours after surgery, Rosendahl was awake, alert, reading email on his Blackberry, and giving direction to staff regarding district projects, according to Mike Bonin, Rosendahl’s chief of staff.

Rosendahl is taking part in a clinical trial for a device called the Watchman.  Dr. Shephal Doshi, Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica peformed the procedure Thursday morning.

“Everything went as expected,” says Doshi. “The Councilmember did very well and had an excellent result. He’ll be home tomorrow and off the warfarin.”

For the past several years, Rosendahl has had atrial fibrillation – an abnormal heart rhythm which can cause blood clots and lead to a stroke.  Although he has felt fine, Rosendahl has been treated with a blood-thinning medicine called warfarin, which can have a range of side effects.

The Watchman, hailed as a breakthrough in bio-medicine, is 2-4 cm large and shaped like a tiny umbrella. General anesthesia is used during the 45-minute procedure.  Doshi will implant the Watchman in Rosendahl’s heart through a catheter inserted through the circulatory system from the groin.

Doshi says atrial fibrillation is part of the aging process, and many patients do not feel the irregular heartbeats until they are diagnosed by their doctor. According to the American Heart Association, atrial fibrillation is the most common of heart arrhythmia, affecting more than 2.2 million people in the United States. Doctors typically treat the condition using blood thinning medications which can reduce the risk of stroke but in some people can cause unpleasant side affects such as bruising or bleeding. The drugs can also impose limitations on a patient’s diet, physical activity and travel.

The Watchman procedure, which is used widely in Europe, Asia and Australia, is undergoing a clinical trial in the United States as an alternative treatment to warfarin.  Rosendahl qualified for the procedure earlier this week.

Doshi, part of the Pacific Heart Institute in Santa Monica, has one of the world’s largest experience with this procedure.

The Councilmember expressed his gratitude for the prayers and well wishes he received in his email inbox in addition to the posts left by constituents and friends on social media. The Councilmember is excited to return to work as early as next week.