Sparrow is first in region to implant new heart technology

Published: Oct. 1, 2020

LANSING, MI – Sparrow has become the first hospital in Mid-Michigan to implant an upgraded new device that reduces the risk of stroke caused by the abnormal heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation.

The FDA-approved Watchman FLX device was first implanted at Sparrow on Sept. 7 and is the newest generation of the very popular Watchman technology. Sparrow has implanted about 270 of the standard Watchman devices in the past five years and more than 100,000 patients worldwide have the technology.

But more patients will have access to the FLX because it is designed for broader-sized anatomy. In the past, some patients couldn’t receive the Watchman because their appendages were too large or too small.

The Watchman is intended for those with atrial fibrillation who are unable to take blood thinners – the most commonly used treatment for the condition – due to an increased risk of bleeding complications. Atrial fibrillation is the most common form of heart arrhythmia in the United States. Stroke is the most common complication of atrial fibrillation.

Implanting the Watchman is a non-invasive procedure where a parachute-shaped implant is inserted into the heart through a catheter placed into the vein of a patient’s leg. Most patients are able to discontinue blood thinners within 45 days.

“The Watchman FLX is the next generation Watchman device,” said Nam Cho, D.O., cardiologist with Sparrow Thoracic and Cardiovascular Institute. “This device allows us to treat more patients by offering a broader range of sizes to treat a wider range of patient anatomies.

“Watchman FLX was designed to advance procedural performance and safety while expanding the treatable patient population.”

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Sparrow Carson Hospital is a subsidiary of Sparrow Health System. As Mid-Michigan’s premier health care organization, Sparrow includes hospitals in Lansing, Carson City, Charlotte, Ionia, and St. Johns, as well as Physicians Health Plan, Sparrow Care Network, Sparrow Medical Group and the Michigan Athletic Club. Sparrow is affiliated with the Michigan Medicine through the Sparrow Children’s Center and with Michigan State University’s three human health colleges. Through these partnerships and the dedication of our 10,000 caregivers, Sparrow pursues a vision to be nationally recognized as a leader in quality and patient experience. For more information, visit