Kingwood Medical Center hosted a Lunch and Learn event to raise awareness of a new procedure to address stroke risk in patient with atrial fibrillation.

Kingwood Medical Center is the first hospital in northeast Houston to offer patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation, an alternative to long-term warfarin medication with the newly approved Watchman Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Implant.

Kingwood Medical Center’s Chief Executive Officer, Melinda Stephenson, welcomed the group as she spoke about Kingwood Medical Center’s commitment to health education. Dr. Percy Francisco Morales, cardiac electrophysiologist, discussed the basics of atrial fibrillation and the long-term benefits associated with the Watchman Implant, including, decrease in medication, and a significant lowering of stroke risk without needing blood thinners.

For patients with atrial fibrillation who have reason to seek a non-drug alternative (bleeding or falls), the Watchman Implant is an alternative. The Watchman Implant is designed to close off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage to keep harmful blood clots from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke. By closing off this area, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking medication.   

implanting the Watchman device is a one-time procedure that usually takes about an hour. Following the procedure, patients typically need to stay in the hospital for 24 hours. The Watchman Implant has been approved in Europe since 2005 and is FDA-approved in the United States. It has been implanted in more than 10,000 patients and is approved in more than 70 countries around the world. For more information on the Watchman Implant, visit watchmanimplant.com. Morales has been working for more than a year to be able to get this procedure available for use at Kingwood Medical Center. 

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