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.