Atrial Fibrillation & Stroke
Afib is a type of arrhythmia or abnormal heartbeat. It can cause blood to pool in a part of the heart called the left atrial appendage. There, blood cells sometimes stick together and form clots. If a clot escapes the heart, it can block your brain’s supply of blood and oxygen, causing a stroke.
How Watchman Works
The small Watchman device fits permanently into your left atrial appendage and stops blood clots from escaping. A few weeks after receiving this device, you may no longer need to take anticoagulants (such as Eliquis or Warfarin) to prevent blood clots.
What to Expect
The implant procedure is minimally invasive, using only a tiny incision and involves a short recovery. Your doctor inserts the device into a large artery in your upper thigh and guides it up to your heart to place it there. The procedure takes as little as 30 minutes, and you may need to stay in the hospital for only one night.
After the Procedure
Over the next several weeks, your heart tissue will grow over the implant to form a barrier against blood clots. Your doctor will perform imaging tests to monitor this process and determine when you can stop taking prescription blood thinners. In a clinical trial, 96 percent of patients were able to stop taking blood thinners after just 45 days.