WATCHMAN, a left atrial appendage implant, is a one-time procedure that may reduce stroke risk for a lifetime in people with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem.
The WATCHMAN Difference
In a clinical trial, 9 out of 10 people were able to stop taking warfarin just 45 days after getting WATCHMAN. At one year, 99 out of 100 people were able to stop taking warfarin.
WATCHMAN has a proven record of safety. Worldwide, more than 100,000 people have received the WATCHMAN Implant. WATCHMAN has been clinically studied for more than 10 years in the United States. It’s the only implant of its kind approved by the FDA.
How WATCHMAN Works
WATCHMAN fits into a part of your heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA).
90% of stroke-causing blood clots that come from the heart are formed in the LAA.
WATCHMAN permanently closes off this part of your heart to keep those blood clots from escaping.
The WATCHMAN Procedure
The WATCHMAN Implant is about the size of a quarter, and it doesn’t require open-heart surgery. Here’s what happens during the procedure.
1. To implant WATCHMAN, your doctor makes a small cut in your upper leg and inserts a narrow tube.
2. Your doctor then guides WATCHMAN through the tube, into your left atrial appendage (LAA).
3. The procedure is done
under general anesthesia and typically takes about an hour. People who get the WATCHMAN Implant usually stay in the hospital overnight and go home the next day.
4. After the procedure, you’ll take warfarin until your LAA is permanently closed off—usually just 45 days.
5. During that time, heart tissue grows over the WATCHMAN Implant to form a barrier against blood clots.
Watch a 4-minute Video About How WATCHMAN Works
Is WATCHMAN Right For You?
You may be a candidate for WATCHMAN if you can answer yes to the following questions:
- Do you have atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem?
- Has your doctor recommended that you take a blood thinner for your AFib?
- Can you take warfarin but need an alternative to long-term blood thinners for one of the reasons below?
- You have a history of serious bleeding while taking blood thinners
- You have a lifestyle, occupation, or condition that puts you at risk for serious bleeding
- You’re taking warfarin and having trouble with your treatment plan, and a different type of blood thinner isn’t an option for you
Cost and Coverage
WATCHMAN is covered for eligible Medicare patients who meet certain national coverage criteria. It’s also covered by an increasing number of commercial insurers.