BHealthy Blog

Watchman Implant, An Alternative for AFib Patients

Dr. Hussam Hawamdeh, Baptist Health Cardiology Center-Fort Smith

What is the Watchman FlxImplant Device?

The Watchman Flx™ implant device, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is a one-time, minimally invasive procedure for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NFIB) not caused by a heart valve problem who need an alternative for blood thinners. The implant is small in size and doesn’t require open-heart surgery.

Over 200,000 patients worldwide have undergone a Watchman Flx™ implant procedure. Clinical studies have shown that the Watchman Flx™ procedure can be a safe and effective alternative to long-term blood thinners for certain patients, preventing blood clots from entering the bloodstream and reducing their risk of stroke that originate in the left atrial appendage (LAA).

A person with AFib is five times more likely to suffer a stroke than those with a regular heartbeat.
Atrial fibrillation, often called AFib, is the most common type of arrhythmia. AFib occurs when the upper chambers and lower chambers of the heart are not coordinated, making the heart beat irregularly. Frequently patients with AFib don’t reflect any symptoms, but when they do, they may experience rapid heart palpitations, extreme fatigue, pain in their chest, lightheadedness, and irregular heartbeat.

Who is Eligible for the Watchman FlxImplant Procedure?

Patients with NFIB may be eligible for the Watchman Flx™ implant procedure. However, a qualified healthcare provider should only perform the process in specialized centers such as Baptist Health. If you are interested in this procedure, talk to your doctor and get informed about all the risks and benefits.

The Watchman Flx™ Implant may be suitable for you if you:

Have a lifestyle, occupation or health concern that puts you at risk for serious bleeding
Take blood thinners and have severe bleeding while taking them
Have difficulty taking blood thinners, as prescribed by the doctor

Depending on your condition, your doctor will help you determine if the Watchman Flx™ implant is right for you.

What are the Benefits and Risks of the Watchman FlxImplant?

With clinically proven safe outcomes, the  Watchman Flximplant has demonstrated a 99% implant success rate. The typical time for the Watchman Flx™ implant procedure typically takes less than an hour and an average hospital stay of a day or less. 

The benefits of the Watchman Flx™ include reducing the risk of a stroke and blood clots and reducing the need for long-term use of blood thinners. However, like any medical procedure, there are risks associated with the Watchman Flex implant such as bleeding in the chest cavity, vascular damage or an infection at the implant site. 

Through seamless treatment and the state’s most advanced heart health services, Baptist Health provides you with a level of care no other hospital in Arkansas can match. 

This procedure can be performed at Baptist Health-Fort Smith, Baptist Health Medical-Little Rock, and Baptist Medical Center-North Little Rock. Find a cardiologist near you today or call 1-888-BAPTIST for more information.