Fort Walton Beach Medical Center Introduces New Device that Reduces Risk of Stroke for Patients with Heart Condition.

FORT WALTON BEACH, FL, APRIL 22, 2019 - FORT WALTON BEACH MEDICAL CENTER (FWBMC) recently became the first hospital in the Tri-County area to offer patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) an alternative to long-term warfarin medication with the WATCHMAN(tm) Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Implant.

FWBMC had its first device implant last Friday, April 19, 2019. The WATCHMAN - the only FDA-approved implant, is proven to reduce stroke risk in people with AF not caused by a heart valve problem. This device, which has been implanted in more than 50,000 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 warfarin.

Dr. Ajit Janardhan treated two patients successfully by implanting the new device at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center last Friday. These patients are two of an estimated five million Americans who are affected by AF - an irregular heartbeat that feels like a quivering heart. "This device is an alternative to long term blood thinners for patients with AF at risk for a stroke," said Dr. Janardhan. "I'm honored to be performing the implants of this device at FWBMC as it offers another patient potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment." Dr. Janardhan was assisted by Dr. Anthony Al-Dehneh, who is also credentialed in performing this implantation.

This Left Atrial Appendage Closure device is done in a one-time procedure. It's 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.

"People with atrial fibrillation are at significant risk of stroke, which can have a serious emotional and psychological effect on them," said Mitch Mongell, Chief Executive Officer at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. "Thus it is important for them to be aware of and understand recent medical advances and treatments that can help with stroke prevention. We are proud that we are able to offer our community the latest in medical treatment for people at risk for a stroke."