Watchman FLX Patient Story—Kenneth Hynes

Tiny implant helps control risk of stroke due to atrial fibrillation

Published 10/30/2020

How would you feel if your doctor suggested you be the first to try something? The first person in New England to have a new device implanted in your heart to reduce your chance of stroke? Seventy five year old Kenneth Hynes couldn’t say no. “It was a good opportunity for everybody. They don’t want to operate on me because I have too many health problems to worry about. Getting the Watchman FLX was easy.” 

The WATCHMAN™ is a device that dramatically reduces the risk of stroke in patients who have non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AFib). The irregular heart beat brought on by AFib can cause blood to pool and clot in the heart.  That clot has the potential to travel to the brain and cause a stroke It’s a complication that historically is treated with blood thinners like Coumadin. But not everyone can tolerate being on long-term blood thinners. The WATCHMAN™ is a breakthrough solution for these patients. 

The FLX™ model, recently approved by the FDA, has a new design which makes it easier to place, especially in patients with complicated anatomies. "The new WATCHMAN FLX™ device demonstrated a 98.8% success rate of implantation. This device may enable us to offer this therapy to an expanded population," says Dr. Jamie Kim, Director of Electrophysiology at CMC’s New England Heart & Vascular Institute, who performed the first-in-New England implant on August 12th, 2020. Dr. Kim was a principal investigator in the PINNACLE FLX IDE study which led to FDA approval of the device. 

According to Boston Scientific, which developed the WATCHMAN FLX™, nearly all patients in the study were able to discontinue their blood thinners 45 days after the procedure.

When Hynes returned to CMC for a follow up a month later, Dr. Kim noted, “If Kenneth continues to do well, we may be able to get him off anticoagulants soon.”  

That was news Hynes was happy to hear. “Whatever Dr. Kim says. He has my complete trust.”