Press Release

IU Health Arnett Cardiovascular Services launches revolutionary WATCHMAN FLX™ treatment for A-fib

February 27, 2023

WATCHMAN heart implant reduces stroke risk and helps patients quit blood thinners.

IU Health Arnett Cardiovascular Services has brought yet another revolutionary new technology to Greater Lafayette — this time, to prevent stroke in individuals with A-fib (atrial fibrillation).

IU Health Arnett is the first in the area to offer the WATCHMAN FLX™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure, an implanted device. The minimally invasive WATCHMAN procedure is an alternative to the lifelong use of blood thinners, such as warfarin, for people with A-fib not caused by a heart valve problem.

96% of patients can stop taking blood thinners just 45 days after the procedure.

“IU Health Arnett is proud to offer this leading-edge technology, close to home. The WATCHMAN procedure offers patients a potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment and allows us to treat a broader range of patients,” says interventional cardiologist M. Ziaul Hoque, MD, FACC, FSCAI.

M. Zial Hoque, MD, FACC, FSCAI
M. Zial Hoque, MD, FACC, FSCAI

“The WATCHMAN FLX device is a safe and effective way to reduce stroke risk for patients with non-valvular A-fib, especially those with compelling reason not to be on blood thinners,” adds electrophysiology cardiologist Igor Tubin, MD.

Igor Tubin, MD
Igor Tubin, MD

An estimated seven million Americans are affected by A-fib, an irregular heartbeat that can feel like a quivering heart. People with A-fib have a five times greater risk of stroke than those with normal heart rhythms.

The WATCHMAN FLX device 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. This may reduce the risk of stroke, and, over time, many patients are able to stop taking a blood thinner.

The WATHCMAN technology has been implanted successfully in more than 200,000 patients worldwide and is done in a one-time, minimally invasive procedure. It is a permanent device that doesn’t have to be replaced and can’t be seen outside the body. The procedure is done under general anesthesia and takes about an hour. Patients commonly stay in the hospital overnight and leave the next day.

Cardiologists, Igor Tubin, MD, and M. Ziaul Hoque, MD, FACC, FSCAI, lead the WATCHMAN program at IU Health Arnett, which is the first of its kind in Tippecanoe County.


About Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is a heart condition in which the upper chambers of the heart (atrium) beat too fast and with irregular rhythm (fibrillation). A-fib is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, currently affecting up to six million Americans. Stroke is the most common complication, and AF-fib-related strokes are more frequently fatal and disabling. In people with non-valvular A-fib, more than 90% of all stroke-causing clots that come from heart form in the left upper chamber of the heart. The most common treatment to reduce stroke risk in patients with A-fib is blood-thinning medication, such as warfarin. While very effective at reducing the risk of stroke, blood thinners increase the risk of serious bleeding over time and come with certain requirements and restrictions.

Patients currently on blood thinners or who have atrial fibrillation should discuss whether they might be a candidate for the WATCHMAN procedure with their cardiologist or may call to learn more at 765.426.2332.

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