The WATCHMANTM Difference
If you are at increased risk for a stroke and your doctor has determined that you are suitable for blood thinners like warfarin, but not for long-term use, the WATCHMANTM Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Device may be a safe alternative for you.
WATCHMAN is a permanent implant that reduces stroke risk in people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem. It works differently from blood thinners by closing off a part of the heart where blood clots commonly form.
The WATCHMAN Procedure
WATCHMAN fits into a part of your heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA). 90% of stroke-causing blood clots that come from the heart are formed in the LAA. WATCHMAN permanently closes off this part of your heart to keep those blood clots from escaping. The implant is about the size of a quarter and it does not require open-heart surgery.
Here’s what happens during the procedure:
- To implant WATCHMAN, your doctor makes a small cut in your upper leg and inserts a narrow tube.
- Your doctor then guides WATCHMAN through the tube, into your left atrial appendage (LAA).
- The procedure is done under general anesthesia and typically takes about an hour. People who get the WATCHMAN Implant usually stay in the hospital overnight and go home the next day.
- After the procedure, you’ll take warfarin until your LAA is permanently closed off – usually just 45 days.
- During that time, heart tissue grows over the WATCHMAN implant to form a barrier against blood clots.
Is WATCHMANTM Right For You?
You may be a candidate for WATCHMAN if you can answer yes to the following questions:
- Do you have atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem?
- Has your doctor recommended that you take a blood thinner for your AFib?
- Can you take warfarin but need an alternative to long-term blood thinners for one of the reasons below?
- You have a history of serious bleeding while taking blood thinners
- You have a lifestyle, occupation, or condition that puts you at risk for serious bleeding
- You’re taking warfarin and having trouble with your treatment plan, and a different type of blood thinner isn’t an option for you
Together, you and your doctor will make shared decisions about your particular condition and work on the treatment plan that is right for you.