Meet the Watchman Device
The Watchman is a left atrial appendage closure device implanted to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF).
Who is a candidate?
Patients must have an increased risk for stroke with an appropriate reason to seek an alternative to blood thinners.
The Watchman implant may be right for people who:
- Have atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem (also known as non-valvular AFib)
- Have been recommended for blood-thinning medicines by their doctor
- Can take short term blood thinners but need an alternative
People may need an alternative to warfarin for any one of these reasons:
- Have had major bleeding while taking blood thinners
- Have a lifestyle, occupation, or condition that puts them at risk for major bleeding
- Have difficulties taking their blood thinner as prescribed (staying in INR range, following dietary restrictions, missing doses, or inability to afford the prescription)
Patients who may qualify for the Watchman are first scheduled for a special consultation with one of our cardiologists to discuss specific risks and benefits. The cardiologist will also go over the details of the procedure. Following the initial consultation, patients meet with an “implanter” before scheduling their procedure.
The Watchman Device is permanently implanted into the left atrial appendage via a quick procedure. The device is inserted through a catheter from the groin into the appendage opening. It blocks blood flow to and from the appendage, preventing clots from leaving the heart. Over time, the heart grows new tissue over the mesh material of the Watchman Device, creating a permanent wall.
- Most patients stay one night at the hospital
- One week of light duties while the groin incision site heals
Medications Following the Procedure
- NOAC/Warfarin and ASA 81mg for 45 days
- Plavix and ASA 325mg until the six-month mark
- A daily Asprin (325mg) regimen
Questions about the Watchman device? Call Jenny Socci, structural heart program coordinator, at (208) 625-5250 .