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Preventing Blood Clots in Patients with AFib | The Watchman™

When you choose St. Joseph's for your heart and vascular care, you can take comfort in the fact that our board-certified cardiovascular specialists are committed to treating you with compassion, using the most advanced diagnostic and treatment techniques available.

Our cardiac specialists collaborate with a team of dedicated healthcare professionals to ensure you receive the most comprehensive and convenient care possible. Whether you are admitted to the hospital or are seen in one of our outpatient clinics, including options in the East Valley, our specially trained cardiovascular healthcare providers will be there for you every step of the way.

In addition, St. Joseph’s multidisciplinary Cardiac Quality Committee—including cardiologists, surgeons, emergency physicians, nurses, patient educators, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals—meets regularly to review patient cases and create personalized treatment plans. Our physicians also collaborate with staff at Barrow Neurological Institute to support stroke prevention, treatment and research.

The Watchman,™ an implant device procedure to reduce the risk of stroke

Reducing AFib Stroke Risk

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most common type of irregular heartbeat. It affects approximately 6 million U.S. adults, mainly those ages 65 and older. AFib can decrease the heart’s pumping efficiency by as much as 30 percent. Poor pumping increases the risk of clots forming in the heart chambers. If a clot breaks off and travels to the brain, it may cause a stroke. In people with AFib, most strokes are attributed to clots that originate in the left atrial appendage (LAA). The Watchman™ device permanently plugs the LAA, a small pouch in the heart’s left upper chamber.

An Alternative to Warfarin

Doctors often prescribe blood thinning medications such as warfarin (Coumadin) to prevent blood clots; however, there are serious side effects:

  • An increased risk of serious bleeding for some people, including older adults who are at high risk for falls.
  • Warfarin also interacts with a number of prescription and over-the-counter medicines, such as antibiotics, salicylates, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, beta-adrenergic blockers, diuretics, antidepressants, diabetes agents, and gastric acidity and peptic ulcer agents.

What is the Watchman Device?

The Watchman™ Device is a small, fabric-covered device permanently placed in the opening of the left atrial appendage (LAA) to prevent harmful-sized blood clots from exiting and entering the bloodstream.

The Procedure

The Watchman LAA closure is performed through a minimally invasive procedure under local or general anesthesia in the catheterization lab. The heart is reached through a hole made in the vein in the upper thigh and the device is delivered to the LAA through a catheter under x-ray and ultrasound guidance. The procedure takes about an hour and requires an overnight hospital stay. After a week, most patients can resume their regular activities.

Heart & Vascular at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center

We are a nationally recognized leader in heart and vascular services, consistently achieve top health industry rankings. Our multidisplinary team of cardiac experts offers cutting-edge preventative, diagnostic and treatment services while our research program support physicians and scientists who are dedicated to investigating and discovering new and powerful therapies to
enhance patient care. We combine high quality heart care with a personalized approach for patients and their loved ones.

Talk to your cardiologist or primary care doctor to find out if this procedure is right for you. 

Meet Our Doctors

Hursh Naik, MD 
Structural Heart, Board Member





Ashish Sadhu, MD
Electrophysiology/Heart Rhythm Specialist, Board Member




Haidar Yassin, MD 





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