Cardiovascular Group and Northside Hospital are pleased to announce the signing of a Practice Services Agreement, signifying a major leap forward in cardiovascular patient care and clinical leadership in the Atlanta region.
What Is A Watchman Implant?
A Watchman Implant is a small device placed in the heart to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AFib). AFib patients are at an increased risk of stroke due to blood clots forming in the small chamber of the heart known as the left atrial appendage, or LAA.
AFib affects your heart’s ability to pump blood and can cause blood to pool in your heart’s left atrial appendage. The Watchman Implant is a minimally invasive procedure for AFib patients who need an alternative to blood thinners.
The Watchman procedure reduces the risk of a stroke by permanently closing off the left atrial appendage to keep blood clots from escaping. The Watchman, or the left atrial appendage closure device, is the size of a quarter and closes off this part of the heart where blood clots are formed. Closing off this part of the heart is an effective way to reduce the stroke risk in patients whose AFib is not caused by a heart valve problem.
Where Is The Watchman Implanted?
During the Watchman Implant procedure, your doctor will make a small incision in your leg and insert a narrow tube. The Watchman will be guided through the tube and placed into your left atrial appendage. Heart tissue will grow over the implant to form a barrier against blood clots over time and the left atrial appendage will eventually close permanently.
How Is The Watchman Device Implanted?
During the Watchman surgery, your doctor will make a small cut in your upper leg. A narrow tube is then inserted through the veins of the leg and the watchman implant is guided into the left atrial appendage of your heart.
Does The Watchman Need To Be Replaced?
The watchman implant is a permanent device implanted into your heart’s left atrial appendage in a one-time procedure. The device lasts a lifetime, and it does not need to be replaced.
What To Expect During Your Visit
Please arrive at your appointment on time to prepare for your procedure. Below is what to expect the day of and following your procedure.
Before The Procedure
When you arrive on the day of your appointment, you will be asked to change into a gown to prepare for the procedure. We will monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen levels. We will insert an IV to administer anesthesia.
During The Procedure
You will undergo general anesthesia during the procedure. The procedure is not open-heart surgery, as the device is inserted through your leg. A catheter will be inserted into the blood vessel in the upper leg. The catheter will then be guided through the blood vessel to the heart and the left atrial appendage.
Once the Watchman device is in place, it will be opened by the surgeons. This procedure generally takes one hour to complete. You can expect to stay in the hospital overnight for monitoring and go home the next day.
After The Procedure
After the Watchman has been implanted, you will need to continue to take blood thinners for 45 days post-procedure or until your left atrial appendage is completely closed off. After 45 days, the left atrial appendage should be completely sealed, thus preventing blood clots from forming and escaping.
We will monitor your progress and advise when you can stop taking blood thinners. Studies have shown that 96% of people who had the Watchman device implanted were able to stop taking blood thinners within 45 days, and more than 92% were able to stop taking blood thinners one year after the procedure.
Schedule An Appointment
If you suffer from non-valvular atrial fibrillation and would like to know more about the benefits of the Watchman Implant, schedule an appointment with Cardiovascular Group today! Our dedicated team of cardiologists can walk you through the procedure and answer any questions you may have.
Our doctors are dedicated to heart care and treating heart disease, heart issues, and improving overall heart health. As a patient, you will receive quality care from top physicians. Heart conditions and treatment are our top priority.
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Invasive therapies may also be used to treat an abnormal heart rhythm, such as electrical cardioversion which sends electrical impulses through your chest wall and allows normal heart rhythm to restart, or catheter ablation which disconnects the pathway of the abnormal rhythm. If your doctor determines that electrical devices are the best course of action, you may be given a permanent pacemaker, an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), or biventricular (B-V) pacemakers and defibrillators.
CVG offers a variety of services that can check and treat causes of fainting. At CVG, we perform stress tests that will observe blood flow and test for Atrial Fibrillation. There are three types of stress tests that we perform:
A treadmill test is a test in which you will walk on a treadmill that gets faster and steeper every 3 minutes. This will stress your heart so that our nurse or doctor can determine your EKG and blood pressure.
An echo test is performed before and after your treadmill test to determine how well your heart pumps blood.
A nuclear stress test is a treadmill test that is prefaced by an injection of medicine that shows the flow of blood to your heart.
We also offer cardiac catheterization, in which a catheter is inserted into the heart in order to take pictures and conduct tests. This procedure allows doctors to gain more information about your condition and suggest treatment options if the fainting episode is due to heart conditions.
If these tests determine a problem, we offer treatment solutions to fix several conditions. Learn more about our services here, or schedule an appointment to talk to our doctors.