WATCHMAN: A One-Time Implant that Helps Reduce AFib Stroke Risk
Is WATCHMAN Right for You?
WATCHMAN is for people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve
problem who need an alternative to warfarin.
If you have a history of bleeding or a lifestyle, occupation or condition
that puts you at risk for bleeding, WATCHMAN may be right for you. But
like any medical procedure, WATCHMAN comes with risks, so it isn’t
right for everyone. Your cardiologist will weigh your risk of a stroke
against your risk of a serious bleeding problem to determine the right
treatment for you.
In people with atrial fibrillation not caused by heart valve problems (the
most common type of AFib), more than 90% of stroke-causing clots that
come from the heart are formed in the LAA.3 Learn more about types of AFib, symptoms and risks, and treatment for Afib.
Take the WATCHMAN Assessment to see if WATCHMAN is right for you.
How is WATCHMAN Implanted?
WATCHMAN is implanted into your heart in a one-time procedure. To implant
WATCHMAN, your doctor makes a small cut in your upper leg and inserts
a narrow tube, as done in a standard stent procedure. Your doctor then
guides WATCHMAN into your heart’s LAA. The procedure is done under
general anesthesia and takes about an hour. Patients commonly stay in
the hospital overnight and leave the next day.
See How WATCHMAN Works
See how the WATCHMAN Implant procedure works to help reduce stroke risk
in people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart problem.
After the Procedure
Following the WATCHMAN procedure, you’ll take warfarin for 45 days
or until your LAA is permanently closed off. During this time, heart tissue
will grow over the implant to form a barrier against blood clots. Your
doctor will monitor this process by taking pictures of your heart to see
when you can stop taking warfarin.
Your doctor will then prescribe a medicine called clopidogrel (also known as Plavix®) and aspirin for you to take for six months. After that, you’ll
continue to take aspirin on an ongoing basis. A very small number of patients
may need to keep taking blood thinners long term.
In a clinical trial:
92% of patients were able to stop taking warfarin just 45 days after the procedure6
99% of patients were able to stop taking warfarin within 1 year after the procedure6
Important Safety Information
The WATCHMAN Device is a permanent implant designed to close the left atrial
appendage in the heart in an effort to reduce the risk of stroke.
With all medical procedures there are risks associated with the implant
procedure and the use of the device. The risks include but are not limited
to accidental heart puncture, air embolism, allergic reaction, anemia,
anesthesia risks, arrhythmias, AV (Arteriovenous) fistula, bleeding or
throat pain from the TEE (Trans Esophageal Echo) probe, blood clot or
air bubbles in the lungs or other organs, bruising at the catheter insertion
site, clot formation on the WATCHMAN™ Closure Device, cranial bleed,
excessive bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding, groin puncture bleed, hypotension,
infection/pneumonia, pneumothorax, pulmonary edema, pulmonary vein obstruction,
renal failure, stroke, thrombosis and transient ischemic attack. In rare
cases death can occur.
Be sure to talk with your doctor so that you thoroughly understand all
of the risks and benefits associated with the implantation of the WATCHMAN Device.
To find out if you are a candidate for WATCHMAN, make an appointment with
a BHS cardiologist by calling 866-620-6761.