Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital is now offering a new treatment – the Watchman FLX procedure, an alternative to blood thinners – for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) and are at high risk of stroke. The Watchman FLX received FDA approval in July.

Atrial fibrillation is a common heart disorder that happens when electrical signals in the heart become irregular, prompting the heart’s upper chamber to beat out of rhythm. The new procedure permanently closes off the left atrial appendage, which is the area of the heart where blood clots that cause strokes commonly form in NVAF. Dr. Akil Loli, who was the first physician at Abrazo Heart Hospital to implant the Watchman FLX device after it was approved for commercial use, said atrial fibrillation requires patients to receive immediate medical attention. Without accessing medical help right away a life-threatening stroke can occur, Loli said.

The new technology has a new, fully rounded design providing physicians the ability to safely enter and maneuver within patients’ left atrial appendages, he added. The design “allows for optimal device engagement with the tissue” to help in offering long-term stability, as well as a more complete seal.

The American Heart Association said at least 2.7 million Americans have atrial fibrillation. It can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related issues. People who have atrial fibrillation are at a higher risk of stroke if they are not taking blood thinners, which also can increase the chances of bleeding. The Watchman FLX device closes off a section of the heart called the left atrial appendage to prevent harmful blood clots that can form in that area of the heart.

Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital is located at 1930 E. Thomas Road while Abrazo Central Campus is at 2000 W. Bethany Home Road. To learn more, visit abrazohealth.com.




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