Heart Implant Goal is to Reduce Risk of Stroke for People with Specific Heart Conditions

Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center and its electrophysiology team now offers the newest generation of the Watchman FLX™ cardiac implant device for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF).

The latest update of the FDA-approved WATCHMAN FLX Left Atrial Appendance Closure (LAAC) implant has positively resulted in reducing the risk of stroke in people with atrial fibrillation who do not have a heart valve problem, explained Arjun Gururaj, MD, medical director of the electrophysiology lab at Desert Springs Hospital.

“By closing off the left atrial appendage (LAA) of the heart, it deters harmful blood clots that could otherwise form in the LAA, which could then enter the blood stream and potentially cause a stroke,” said Dr. Gururaj. It also allows patients to eventually stop taking blood thinning medications, if directed and approved by their physician.

Once the WATCHMAN implant device is in place, it takes about 45 days for a thin layer of tissue to grow over it, which then prevents the blood clots from entering the blood stream, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

“We’re committed to providing advanced medical treatments that can save and improve lives,” said Chris Loftus, CEO of Desert Springs Hospital. “This new device offers multiple benefits to patients, including reducing the risk of stroke, blood clots and side effects of taking blood thinners.”

Blood thinners can both prevent blood clot formation and prevent clots from getting larger. Blood clots that form in the blood vessels and heart can cause strokes, heart attacks and blockages.  Common side effects of blood thinners include serious bleeding, upset stomach, nausea and diarrhea.

Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke
According to the American Heart / Stroke Association, a minimum of 2.7 million Americans are living with atrial fibrillation, which is often described as an irregular heartbeat that feels like a quivering heart. Approximately 15-20 percent of people who have strokes have this heart condition.

Stroke accounts for about one of every 19 deaths in the United States and is ranked number five among all causes of death in the United States. It is also a leading cause of long-term disability.

To begin researching if the WATCHMAN implant might benefit someone you know, visit https://www.watchman.com/content/dam/watchman/downloads/download-center/patient-materials/WATCHMAN_Static_Doctor_Discussion_Guide.pdf






About Desert Springs Hospital - Desert Springs Hospital is a member of The Valley Health System (VHS), a network of hospitals, outpatient centers and physician practices caring for patients throughout Southern Nevada and nearby communities. Located a few miles from the famous Las Vegas Strip, the hospital offers a wide range of healthcare services including emergency care, surgical services, advanced cardiovascular care, and specialty programs in stroke, chest pain, diabetes, advanced wound care and hyperbaric medicine, surgical weight loss/bariatrics and geropsychiatric services.