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Heart & Vascular Offers Stroke Risk Reduction Treatment

Heart & Vascular Physicians Perform WATCHMAN FLX™ Implantation  

Over six million Americans are affected by atrial fibrillation (AF), or AFib, an irregular, quivering, and often rapid heartbeat.1 AFib increases the risks of heart-related deaths and is associated with a four to five-fold increased risk of stroke.

Hattiesburg Clinic Heart & Vascular is proud to offer patients an option for stroke risk reduction – the WATCHMAN FLX™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure Implant.

WATCHMAN FLX is the only FDA-approved alternative to long-term blood-thinning medications for stroke risk reduction in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. This next-generation device is the latest technology designed to help treat more patients safely and effectively and to help reduce the risk of stroke.

The WATCHMAN FLX team at Heart & Vascular includes Diego F. Alcivar, MD, FACCS.M. “Mark” Borganelli, MD, FACCCraig A. Thieling, MD, FACCThad F. Waites, MD, MACC, who assists with the interop imaging, and WATCHMAN Coordinator Allison C. Henderson, PA-C.

Heart & Vascular providers started the WATCHMAN program in Dec. 2016, which now includes the next generation device, WATCHMAN FLX, with improvements in both safety and efficacy.

“WATCHMAN FLX is a great device with over 100,000 procedures completed worldwide,” Dr. Alcivar said. “With this new technology, 96% of patients in a clinical trial were able to stop blood thinners. For qualifying patients with Atrial Fibrillation not caused by heart valve problem, it takes 45 minutes of their time for a lifetime of protection from stroke.”

On Dec. 8, 2020, Heart & Vascular’s WATCHMAN team performed its first implantation of the device. The first recipient of the minimally invasive, life-saving procedure was the ideal patient for this procedure as she had a history of AFib, which put her at increased risk for a stroke.

“We usually treat this with blood thinners, but she has a history of joint issues that required frequent injections that would interrupt blood thinners,” Henderson said. “She was also at increased bleeding risk due to advanced age and fall risk.”

Heart & Vascular continues to offer patients a multitude of treatment options for cardiac care, with each provider bringing a unique set of skills and areas of focus to the group to provide comprehensive services to meet the needs of South Mississippi patients.

For more information or to see if you qualify for this procedure, contact Hattiesburg Clinic Heart & Vascular at (601) 268-5800.

About Heart & Vascular

Heart & Vascular provides diagnostic and therapeutic services and surgical procedures for patients with all types of cardiac disorders. Areas of focus include: Hospital Services, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Cardiac Electrophysiology, Interventional Cardiology, Structural Cardiology, Peripheral Vascular Interventions, Disease Management, Diagnostic Services and Vascular Services.

The combined capabilities of the staff provide expertise for invasive and noninvasive studies using angiography, angioplasty, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology, electrocardiography, hemodynamic assessment and electrophysiology.


  1. Morillo, C. A., Banerjee, A., Perel, P., Wood, D., & Jouven, X. (2017). Atrial fibrillation: the current epidemic. Journal of geriatric cardiology : JGC14(3), 195–203. https://doi.org/10.11909/j.issn.1671-5411.2017.03.011


Tate Rutland


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