Washington Regional’s Walker Heart Institute now offers the minimally invasive WATCHMAN™ device as an alternative to lifelong use of blood thinners for atrial fibrillation (AFib) patients.
It closes off a small sac in the left atrium (referred to as LAA) to keep blood clots from forming. The implant is placed by a standard stent procedure through a cut in your upper leg.
This permanent heart implant effectively reduces the risk of stroke—without the risk of bleeding that can come with the long-term use of warfarin (the most common blood thinner). What’s more, WATCHMAN can eliminate the regular blood tests and food-and-drink restrictions that come with warfarin. (Warfarin is also known as Coumadin®.)
In a clinical trial, 9 out of 10 people were able to stop taking warfarin just 45 days after the WATCHMAN procedure.
WATCHMAN is implanted into your heart in a one-time procedure. It’s a permanent device that doesn’t have to be replaced and can’t be seen outside the body.
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 the left atrial appendage (LAA) of your heart. The procedure is done under general anesthesia and takes about an hour. Patients commonly stay in the hospital overnight and leave the next day.
Due to the risk of having a medical procedure, patients should not be considered for WATCHMAN if they are doing well and expect to continue doing well on blood thinners,
WATCHMAN is the only device of its kind approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for reducing the risk of stroke in people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem.
More than 50,000 WATCHMAN procedures have been performed worldwide. And with over 10 years of U.S. clinical studies behind it, WATCHMAN has a proven safety record.5
In a clinical trial, WATCHMAN was implanted successfully in 95% of patients.1 In the remaining 5%, the procedure was either not attempted or not completed. This was because a pre-procedure exam showed that the patient was not qualified to receive the implant, or because a complication occurred during the procedure before WATCHMAN was implanted.1
As with any medical procedure, there are risks involved with WATCHMAN. See the Important Safety Information below for a list of possible complications, and ask your cardiologist about the risks and benefits of WATCHMAN.
To learn more about procedures and services offered by Walker Heart visit www.walkerheart.org