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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.
Doctors often prescribe blood thinning medications such as warfarin (Coumadin) to prevent blood clots; however, there are serious side effects:
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 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.
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.
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.
To learn more about the Watchman procedure, please download this Watchman flyer (pdf).