Norton Healthcare first in region to implant Watchman FLX for A-fib patients

Updated technology is available for A-fib patients at risk for stroke.

Norton Heart & Vascular Institute Heart Rhythm Center is the first in the region to offer the Watchman FLX left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) implant, a device designed to prevent stroke in patients with certain kinds of atrial fibrillation (A-fib).

What is it?

The Watchman FLX, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July 2020, closes off the left atrial appendage (LAA). It keeps blood clots that can form in the LAA from entering the bloodstream and potentially causing a stroke. Closing off the LAA may lower the risk of stroke, and over time, patients may be able to stop taking blood thinners. 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.

The technology is leading-edge, with upgrades to safety, effectiveness and performance. New features include:

  • Fully recapturable and repositionable
  • A greater number of struts
  • A closed distal end to lessen the likelihood of perforation
  • Dual-row anchors to reduce the risk of embolization
  • Reduced metal exposure

“Our team started implanting the original Watchman device in 2015 and served as one of the earliest centers in the area to offeran alternative for patients who cannot use blood thinners long term. This updated version of the device will provide the same treatment opportunity but the new design has some key design features to improve it,”  said Kent E. Morris, M.D., cardiac electrophysiologist with Norton Heart & Vascular Institute. “The Watchman device has changed countless lives preventing strokes in patients with Afib and we expect to see the same level of results if not better with this new version.”

Sean Stewart, M.D., interventional cardiologist with Norton Heart & Vascular Institute, and his team performed the first implant of Watchman FLX for Norton Healthcare and the first in the region to utilize this cutting edge technology.

Who is a good candidate for Watchman?

The Watchman implant may be suitable for a broad range of nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) patients and patients who meet these criteria:

  1. Have an increased risk for stroke and be recommended for anticoagulation
  2. Be suitable for short-term oral anticoagulation (OAC)
  3. Have an appropriate reason to seek a nonpharmacologic alternative to OACs

About Norton Heart & Vascular Institute

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Norton Heart & Vascular Institute specialists treat more people for heart and vascular conditions — about 250,000 every year — than any other provider in Louisville and Southern Indiana.

  • Norton Healthcare’s four adult-service hospitals are American College of Cardiology accredited Cycle VI Chest Pain Centers — the highest level of expertise to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.
  • We have more than 50 board-certified cardiovascular physicians and 35 advanced practice providers. Through training and years of experience, they specialize in areas such as cardiologyinterventional cardiologycardiothoracic surgeryelectrophysiologyadvanced heart failure and vascular surgery.
  • We offer same-day new patient appointments.
  • We have 27 locations in Louisville and Southern Indiana. Telecardiology is offered at more than 30 clinical sites in the region.
  • We have the experience, expertise and easy access you’d expect from the largest cardiovascular care provider in Kentucky.
  • Norton Healthcare is the only health care system in Kentucky to receive the prestigious Mission Lifeline: Regional Trailblazer Award from the American Heart Association for being an innovator in creating a system of care for ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) heart attacks —  the most severe type of heart attack.

Norton Heart & Vascular Institute offers a nationally recognized advanced heart failure specialist with expertise in the management of end-stage heart failure, mechanical circulatory support and heart transplantation. Norton Heart & Vascular Institute Resource Center at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital is among the first in the nation offering diagnostic and educational services dedicated exclusively to heart disease in women. More information is available at NortonHeartAndVascularInstitute.com.


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