Manatee Memorial, First Hospital on the Florida West Coast to Implant the Next-Generation WATCHMAN FLX™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure

Todays News

Manatee Memorial Hospital became the first hospital on the Florida West Coast 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. A female patient, age 73 received the first WATCHMAN FLX Implant on August 18, 2020. Daniel Friedman, MD, FACC, FHRS, Bradenton Cardiology Center and Manatee Memorial Hospital’s Medical Director of Watchman, implanted the first WATCHMAN FLX device – the only FDA-approved implant proven to reduce stroke risk in people with AF not caused by a heart valve problem – at Manatee Memorial Hospital. Dr. Friedman is also the first electrophysiology (EP) physician to perform this procedure in the state of Florida. Brian Holyk, MD, Bradenton Cardiology Center, performed a transesophageal echocardiogram, required during the procedure. Manatee Memorial Hospital’s Heart and Vascular Center’s Structural Heart staff assisted during the procedure.

“Manatee Memorial Hospital is thrilled to offer the next-generation WATCHMAN FLX™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Implant as part of our Structural Heart Program,” said Kevin DiLallo, CEO. “Patients who are taking medications on a long-term basis have this new implant option to help prevent blood clots and possible strokes.” The WATCHMAN technology, which has been implanted in more than 100,000 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. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke may be reduced 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.

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