The WATCHMAN™ device

The WATCHMAN™ device is a permanent, one-time implant designed to keep harmful blood clots from entering your blood stream and potentially causing a stroke.


An alternative to warfarin

WATCHMAN™ is as effective at reducing the risk of stroke as warfarin. But, unlike warfarin, the WATCHMAN™ device also reduces the long-term risk of bleeding. Newer alternative oral anticoagulants offer an option to warfarin, but they don’t take away the long-term risk of bleeding.

Some of the potential barriers to the use of blood thinners are:

  • Increased bleeding risk, including older adults who are at a high risk for falls.
  • Accessibility and ability to complete necessary blood work while on warfarin.
  • Dietary interactions.
  • Cost of alternative oral anticoagulants.
  • Lack of reversal agents for alternative oral anticoagulants.

The procedure

Your cardiologist places the WATCHMAN™ device into your heart via a minimally invasive technique using a small puncture into a vein in your groin. A catheter delivers the device to your left atrial appendage (LAA) under x-ray and ultrasound guidance. The procedure typically takes 1 to 2 hours.

You will receive both local and general anesthesia for the procedure. The average length of stay following the procedure is 1 day, so most patients are able to go home the next day. For at least 6 months following the procedure you will be required to take a blood thinner, and you will be on an aspirin regimen long term.

Is WATCHMAN™ right for me?

If you meet the below criteria, you may be a candidate for WATCHMAN™:

  • You have atrial fibrillation not cause by a heart valve problem (also known as non-valvular AFib).
  • You are on a blood thinning medication, or have been recommended by your doctor to take a blood thinning medication.
  • You are looking for an alternative to long-term blood thinners.


Pubmed: National Library of Medicine. The Assessment of the Watchman Device in Patients Unsuitable for Oral Anticoagulation (ASAP-TOO) trial (

National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI): National Library of Medicine. National Yearly Trend of Utilization and Procedural Complication of the Watchman Device in the United States (