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WATCHMAN Device for AFib

Patients with non-valvular AFib who need an alternative to taking blood thinners can count on St. John's. We are one of the select providers in Ventura County to offer this one-time, minimally-invasive procedure.

Watchman: A One-Time Implant that Helps Reduce AFib Stroke Risk


WATCHMAN is a permanent implant about the size of a quarter that offers an alternative to the lifelong use of blood thinners. It is placed into your heart during a minimally invasive procedure and never needs to be replaced.

What Is Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)?

Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition in which the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) beat irregularly and too fast because they receive extra, "abnormal" electrical signals. This causes the atria to quiver (fibrillate), affecting the heart's ability to pump blood to the body. As a result, your brain and other organs may not be getting the full blood supply they need.

How Does AFib Increase Stroke Risk?

The average person with atrial fibrillation (also called AFib or AF) is five times more likely to have a stroke than someone with a regular heartbeat. That’s because AFib can decrease the heart’s pumping capacity by as much as 30%. Because blood isn’t pumped out of the heart normally, it’s easier for blood cells to stick together and form clots in an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA).  When a blood clot escapes from the LAA and travels to another part of the body, it can cut off the blood supply to the brain, causing a stroke.

In people with atrial fibrillation not caused by heart valve problems (the most common type of AFib), more than 90% of stroke-causing clots that come from the heart are formed in the LAA.

How Does WATCHMAN Work?

The Watchman device provides an alternative solution for patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib), who cannot use blood thinners for long periods of time. AFib affects the hearts ability to pump blood normally and can cause blood to pool in the left atrial appendage. The Watchman procedure is a permanent implant in the left atrial appendage, to effectively reduce the risk of stroke without the risk of bleeding as a result of being on blood thinners for extended periods of time. 

How is WATCHMAN Implanted?

WATCHMAN is implanted into your heart in a one-time procedure. To implant WATCHMAN, your doctor makes a small cut in your upper leg and inserts a narrow tube, as done in a standard stent procedure. Your doctor then guides WATCHMAN into your heart’s LAA. The procedure is done under general anesthesia and takes about an hour. Patients commonly stay in the hospital overnight and leave the next day.

Filmed pre-COVID

What is the WATCHMAN recovery time?

Because WATCHMAN requires only a small incision, most patients can return to normal activities within a few days as activities are gradually added back to their routines. Plus, 96% of people were able to discontinue their blood thinner at 45 days after their WATCHMAN procedure.

Talk to your cardiologist about the benefits and risks. Together, you’ll decide if WATCHMAN may be right for you

Is WATCHMAN Right for You?

This is a safe, one-time, minimally-invasive procedure that permanently reduces stroke risk and blood thinner worries. For some, that means an extra measure of safety if they have bleeding due to certain medical conditions such as an ulcer. For others, it means peace of mind should they need surgery. And a more active lifestyle is less risky, even for travel that’s not near medical help. With 20 years of clinical and real-world experience, including 10 clinical trials, WATCHMAN has a proven safety record.

If you have a history of bleeding or a lifestyle, occupation or condition that puts you at risk for bleeding, WATCHMAN may be right for you. But like any medical procedure, WATCHMAN comes with risks, so it isn’t right for everyone. Your cardiologist will weigh your risk of a stroke against your risk of a serious bleeding problem to determine the right treatment for you. 

WATCHMAN Patient's Story

When Fermin had a hemorrhage, as a complication to his medications, he was hospitalized, leaving his life at risk. With the guidance of his doctors, he learned about a new heart procedure. See how the WATCHMAN Implant allowed him to continue being at the side of his loved ones.

See how the WATCHMAN Implant became one of the best things that happened to Fermín, later in life, allowing him an alternative to blood thinners to reduce his AFib stroke risk.

Watch Ingrid's Story

When atrial fibrillation and the bleeding risks of blood thinners started to slow down Ingrid, an active 55-year-old, she talked to her doctor about an alternative treatment. See how WATCHMAN helped give her a new lease on life.

Watch Ingrid’s Story and see how the WATCHMAN Implant helped give Ingrid a new lease on life after AFib and the bleeding risks of blood thinners started to slow her down.

Learn more about the WATCHMAN procedure

To learn more about our services and how we can help, please call the Watchman coordinator, Lorraine Herrick, RN at (805) 216-0502