Arizona hospital becomes state’s 1st to implant new device to reduce stroke risk

Oct 10, 2023, 4:25 AM

PHOENIX — Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital in Phoenix last week became the first health center in the state to implant a new device designed to reduce stroke risk.

The hospital, which is located on Thomas Road and State Route 51, implanted the Watchman FLX Pro left atrial appendage closure device on Oct. 3.

“Treating the first patient in the state with this procedure is a significant milestone for our facility as we celebrate 25 years of patient care. Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital has a long history of bringing new developments in medicine to Arizona,” Chief Administrative Officer Nathan Worley said in a press release.

“We are proud to offer this option for treating patients who are at high risk for stroke.”

What is the Watchman FLX Pro device and how does it work?

The Watchman FLX Pro is used for people with non-valvular atrial fibrillation, otherwise known as an irregular heartbeat that can feel like a quivering heart.

The device works by blocking off a part of the heart called the left atrial appendage to prevent blood clots that form there from entering into the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke. Through closing off the left atrial appendage, stroke risk can be reduced and patients can possibly quit taking blood thinners.

Working off of previous generations of the device, the Watchman FLX Pro contains a polymer coating that was built to reduce the risk of device-related clots.

It was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Sept. 6.

“The Watchman FLX Pro is the latest-generation device designed to reduce stroke risk in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation who need an alternative to oral anticoagulation therapy,” Dr. Ashish Sadhu said in the release.

“I’m proud to have performed the first implant of this device at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital, as it offers another patient a potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment and will allow us to treat a broad range of patients thanks to the expanded size matrix.”

Around 6 millions Americans are estimated to be affected by non-valvular atrial fibrillation, Abrazo Health said.

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Arizona hospital becomes state’s 1st to implant new device to reduce stroke risk