WATCHMAN™ is a permanent implant to reduce stroke risk for people with atrial fibrillation (AFib). It’s about the size of a quarter and made from compact materials commonly used in many other medical implants.
Kettering Health began doing WATCHMAN™ implant procedures at Kettering Medical Center in 2016 as an alternative for patients with AFib who are unable to tolerate long-term anticoagulants (blood thinners) therapies.
How Does WATCHMAN™ Work?
WATCHMAN™ permanently closes the left atrial appendage to keep blood clots from escaping, reducing the risk of stroke.
WATCHMAN™ eliminates bleeding risks, the need for regular blood tests, and food-and-drink restrictions that come with anticoagulants.
In a clinical trial, 9 out of 10 people stopped taking the anticoagulant warfarin 45 days after the WATCHMAN™ procedure. To ensure you are a candidate, you will have a transesophageal echocardiography (TEE). This will indicate if you are a candidate and help the physician pick the correct size WATCHMAN™ device.
How Is WATCHMAN™ Implanted?
WATCHMAN™ is implanted into your heart in a one-time procedure. To implant WATCHMAN™, your doctor inserts a catheter into a vessel in the groin area, as done in a standard stent procedure. Your doctor then guides the device into your heart’s left atrial appendage. The procedure is done under general anesthesia and takes about an hour. Patients commonly stay overnight and leave the next day.