In mid-January, Las Palmas Medical Center began performing surgeries on patients using the Watchman device for those with atrial fibrillation (AFib) not caused by a heart valve problem. 

The device—a permanent heart implant that effectively reduces the risk of a stroke without the risk of bleeding—is the only such device approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“For patients suffering from AFib, the Watchman implant is an excellent alternative to blood thinners and successfully reduces the chances of a stroke,” Dr. Francisco Gonzalez, an electrophysiologist at Las Palmas Medical Center, said. “The procedure is relatively easy—it takes under an hour, and patients have a short recovery time. We’re excited to now offer this technology at Las Palmas Medical Center.”    

According to the American Heart Association, at least 2.7 million Americans are living with AFib, a condition in which the heart produces an irregular heartbeat, increasing the chances of blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.