Tuesday, officials with the Hospitals of Providence Sierra Campus announced that they are the first hospital in El Paso to offer the Watchman Flx device, to help reduce the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation.
“For many of our AFib patients they are not able to tolerate being on blood thinner medications so their risk of developing a blood clot and having a stroke is significant – the Watchman Flx gives us the ability to safely close off the left atrial appendage to reduce the risk of a stroke occurring,” said Dr. Chalam Mulukutla, Interventional Cardiologist who performed the first Watchman Flx procedure.
“We were very pleased with the outcome of the first procedure and to be able to provide our patient and her family with a sense of peace of mind.”
According to hospital officials, the Watchman Flx device is indicated to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) who need an alternative to oral anticoagulation therapy by permanently closing off the left atrial appendage – the area of the heart where stroke-causing blood clots commonly form in NVAF.
Hospital officials share that this new technology offers physicians the ability to safely enter and maneuver within the left atrial appendage allowing for optimal device engagement with the tissue for long-term stability and a faster, more complete seal.
“We are excited to be advancing and expanding cardiac services here in the El Paso community and offering our patients the latest in technology,” said Rob J. Anderson, Chief Executive Officer for The Hospitals of Providence Sierra Campus.
“The Sierra Campus is proud to offer a multidisciplinary structural heart care team, committed to caring for the most complex cardiovascular conditions. Patients who once had to leave town are now able to receive the care they need here in El Paso.”
Atrial fibrillation (AFib), is a common heart condition that causes a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.
By closing off the left atrial appendage, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking their blood thinner.
Officials add that the Sierra Campus is one of 31 hospitals in the U.S., and the only hospital in El Paso, to both achieve and maintain the HeartCARE Center National Distinction of Excellence by the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the highest cardiology designation by the ACC.