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Piedmont Heart First to Offer WATCHMAN FLX

Atlanta (Feb. 25, 2021) - Piedmont Heart recently became the first in metro-Atlanta region to offer patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) an alternative to long-term blood thinners with the next generation WATCHMAN FLX™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Implant.

Sandeep Goyal, M.D., Electrophysiologist, implanted the first WATCHMAN FLX device, the second-generation FDA approved implant proven to reduce stroke risk in people with AF not caused by a heart valve problem, at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital.

“We are committed to providing innovative treatments for our patients and by offering this new implant, Piedmont Heart is able to expand access to the Watchman procedure for patients who don't meet the standard criteria,” said Dr. Goyal. “Left atrial appendage (LAAC) closure with the Watchman device is a minimally invasive procedure used to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.”

The WATCHMAN technology, which has been implanted in more than 150,000 patients worldwide, 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 blood stream and potentially causing a stroke. The newest version of the implant has an updated design to help treat more patients safely and effectively to ensure the best long-term outcomes.

According to the American Heart Association, at least 2.7 million Americans are living with atrial fibrillation, or AFib, which affects the heart’s ability to pump blood normally and can cause blood to pool in an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage, or LAA. There, blood cells can stick together and form a clot. When a blood clot escapes from the LAA and travels to another part of the body, it can cut off the blood supply to the brain, causing a stroke.

In people with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem, more than 90% of stroke-causing clots that come from the heart are formed in the LAA. By using the Watchman device to close off the LAA, the risk of stroke may be reduced and results have shown that 96% of people were able to stop taking blood thinners just 45 days after the WATCHMAN procedure.

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