Norman Regional Health System

WATCHMAN device placement

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Donnie Goodnight, 78, is taking less medication and living with less anxiety and fear since undergoing the WATCHMAN procedure at Norman Regional Health System.

Goodnight has atrial fibrillation (AFib), a condition in which he has an irregular heart rhythm that puts him at risk for a stroke. A person with AFib is five times more likely to suffer a stroke than someone with a regular heartbeat, according to the National Stroke Association. He was taking oral anticoagulants, or blood thinners, for his AFib, but could no longer take them due to continual bleeding complications.

Muhammad Salim, MD, a board certified cardiologist at Norman Regional, recommend the WATCHMAN implant – a minimally invasive, one-time procedure that reduces stroke risk without the worry that comes with lifelong blood thinners.

Goodnight worked with Dr. Salim and Sarah “Katy” Walsh, APRN-CNS, a certified nurse practitioner who serves as Norman Regional’s cardiovascular coordinator for procedures like the WATCHMAN procedure, to determine if he was a fit for the implant and be fully informed about the implant prior to undergoing the procedure.

Goodnight underwent the WATCHMAN procedure in January of this year and said he’s happy he did.

“I’m thankful I went through the WATCHMAN procedure so that I could stop taking the medication,” Goodnight said. “I’m feeling a lot better and a lot less anxious. I also have a lot more energy.”

Goodnight added that he had a good experience and would recommend anyone with AFib to Norman Heart and Vascular Associates.

“They were very professional and I trust them,” he said. “I appreciate all of what the heart team as done for me.”

The WATCHMAN implant is placed in the heart while the patient is under general anesthesia. It usually takes about an hour and requires an overnight hospital stay before being discharged home the next day. The patient still takes blood thinning medication for about 45 days while your heart heals.

For those living with AFib and suffering through the same anxiety Goodnight had, please know you don’t have to continue to do so. The WATCHMAN implant design enables it to fit the greatest number of patients, giving more people a safe, effective alternative to blood thinners, according to  

Call Norman Heart and Vascular Associates at 405-515-2222 to see if you’re a fit for the WATCHMAN procedure and reduce your risk for stroke.