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.
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.
Watch a video about the WATCHMAN™ device
Make an appointment at one of our heart and vascular clinics
Pubmed: National Library of Medicine. The Assessment of the Watchman Device in Patients Unsuitable for Oral Anticoagulation (ASAP-TOO) trial (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28625383/)
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 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9249046/)