Designed to act as a permanent barrier to prevent blood clots from leaving an area of the heart known as the left atrial appendage (LAA), the WATCHMAN device is an implant with the goal of lowering the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib) not caused by heart valve problems.
How is WATCHMAN placed?
Introduced into the heart via a flexible tube called a catheter through a vein in the groin, a specially trained cardiac electrophysiologist guides the catheter up into the heart. WATCHMAN is then implanted in the left atrial appendage (LAA). Within about 45 days, a thin layer of tissue grows over the surface of the Watchman implant.
Not all AFib patients are candidates for the WATCHMAN. The FDA recommends the Watchman only be used in patients who:
- Have AFib not related to heart valve disease
- Are at increased risk for a stroke
- Are recommended for blood thinning medicines
- Are suitable for warfarin
- Have an appropriate reason to seek a non-drug alternative to warfarin
Benefits of WATCHMAN
The WATCHMAN device carries several benefits for AFib patients:
- Reduces the risk of stroke for AFib (not caused by heart valve problems)
- Works as well as commonly proscribed blood thinning medication
- Reduces the long-term risk of bleeding
WATCHMAN is currently being used in the following BayCare facilities:
- St Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa
- Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater
- Winter Haven Hospital in Winter Haven
Wondering if WATCHMAN could be an option for you or a loved one? Talk to your cardiac electrophysiologist or cardiologist to see if you might be a candidate. Need a cardiac electrophysiologist or other cardiac specialist? Call us at (855) 233-0888 for a referral or fill out the form to request a referral to a cardiac specialist.