Baptist Health-Fort Smith Now Offers AFib Patients Procedure for Stroke Prevention

FORT SMITH, Ark. – Patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib) who are unable to take blood thinners now have a new option for reducing their risk of stroke at Baptist Health-Fort Smith.

Hussam Hawamdeh, MD, FACC, FSCAI, recently began using the WATCHMAN FLX Implant for people with non-valvular AFib. This one-time, minimally invasive procedure reduces stroke risk and bleeding worry for patients. Dr. Hawamdeh is the only structural cardiologist to provide the WATCHMAN FLX device in the River Valley.

The WATCHMAN FLX device closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA) to keep harmful blood clots that can form in the LAA from entering the bloodstream and potentially causing a stroke. Stroke is the most common complication of AFib, and AFib-related strokes are also more frequently fatal or disabling.

The most common treatment to reduce stroke risk in patients with AFib is blood-thinning medication. Blood thinners increase the risk of serious bleeding over time and come with certain requirements and restrictions. 

“I’m happy to help expand the structural cardiology program in Fort Smith so that patients no longer have to travel out-of-town and often even out-of-state for quality cardiac care,” said Dr. Hawamdeh. “For some patients, it’s a life-changing stroke risk treatment and WATCHMAN FLX will allow us to treat a broader range of patients going forward.” 

Dr. Hawamdeh is an interventional and structural cardiologist who joined Baptist Health Cardiology Center-Fort Smith last summer. He earned his medical degree from the University of Jordan in Amman, Jordan. He later went on to complete a residency in internal medicine and fellowship in cardiovascular disease at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He also completed fellowships in both interventional cardiology and structural cardiology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

For more on the services Dr. Hawamdeh provides, visit or call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-BAPTIST


About Baptist Health

For more than a century, Baptist Health has delivered All Our Best in health care through Christian compassion and innovative services. Baptist Health is Arkansas’ most comprehensive health care organization with more than 250 points of access that include 11 hospitals; urgent care centers; a senior living community; over 100 primary and specialty care clinics; a college with studies in nursing and allied health; a graduate residency program; and access to virtual care anytime, anywhere. It is also the largest private not-for-profit health care organization based in Arkansas, providing care through the support of approximately 11,000 employees, groundbreaking treatments, renowned physicians and community outreach programs. For more information about Baptist Health, visit, call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-BAPTIST or download the myBaptistHealth app