Providence Health Heart Program Leads Region With First Implant Of Watchman Flx™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device

Next-generation permanent heart implant is the only FDA-approved device for the reduction of stroke risk in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation

Columbia, SC (October 5, 2020) -- Dr. Garrison Morgan and Providence Health’s Structural Heart team performed the Midlands’ first implant of the next-generation WATCHMAN FLX™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Device on a patient with atrial fibrillation (AF) Sept. 9, 2020. The hospital is one of the first in South Carolina to offer the WATCHMAN FLX device, built upon the most studied and implanted LAAC device in the world, as an alternative to the lifelong use of blood thinners for people with AF not caused by a heart valve problem (also known as non-valvular AF).

In addition, Providence Health is one just 100 hospitals across the country to be selected as a site for the International Champion-AF trial. This clinical trial is aimed at providing further evidence of the efficacy of the FDA approved WATCHMAN device. If successful, the trial will provide evidence that the Watchman procedure should be offered as a first line therapy and an alternative to a lifetime of oral anti-coagulant drug therapy for those diagnosed with NVAF without further indication or restriction.

Up to 6 million Americans are estimated to be affected by AF – an irregular heartbeat that feels like a quivering heart, though some patients will not exhibit any obvious symptoms. People with AF have a five times greater risk of stroke4 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. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking their blood thinner. This new generation technology has a new design to help treat more patients safely and effectively to ensure the best long-term outcomes.

The WATCHMAN technology has been implanted in more than 100,000 patients worldwide and 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 may go home the same day.

For more information on the WATCHMAN FLX device, please visit: or call the Providence Health Structural Heart department at 803-673-0925.

About Providence Health

Founded in 1938 by the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, Providence Health is a full-service healthcare system serving the Midlands of South Carolina. A part of LifePoint Health, Providence consists of two hospitals, a freestanding Emergency Room in Fairfield County and multiple physician practices, rehabilitation centers, sleep centers, imaging and diagnostics labs, and other services. Providence Health’s downtown Columbia hospital specializes in high acuity care, while its Northeast Columbia campus recently transitioned from a specialty facility to a full-service community hospital. Providence employs more than 1,600 dedicated staff. For more information, visit

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