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What can I expect before, during, and after the WATCHMAN™ procedure?

The decision to get WATCHMAN is shared between you and your doctor. You’ll talk about what’s important to you, your goals, and risks and benefits of the procedure. Together, you’ll decide whether WATCHMAN is the right choice for you. If so, here is what comes next.

Before - Getting Ready

1.     Get insurance approval. WATCHMAN is covered for eligible Medicare patients and does not require advance approval. If you have commercial insurance, you may need prior authorization from your plan. Your doctor’s office may be able to assist.

2.     Have an exam and heart scan. In addition to a physical, you may have a special test called a TEE (transesophogeal echocardiogram) which takes pictures of your heart so the doctor can see your LAA and to make sure you don’t have an existing blood clot.

3.     Set the date for your WATCHMAN procedure. Your doctor and heart team will tell you how to prepare. Make sure you understand all the instructions, including what medications you should and should not take, and ask any questions you have.


The minimally invasive WATCHMAN procedure is done under general anesthesia and takes about an hour.


Your First Year with WATCHMAN, here's what you can expect:

Starting on day 1 and for about 45 days afterward, you’ll take a blood thinner while WATCHMAN and your heart’s own tissue work together to form a seal against clots.

Most people can return to work within a few days, gradually adding activities to get back to your normal routine. Check with your doctor before resuming exercise or anything strenuous.

You’ll have a TEE imaging test to see if you’re ready to stop taking blood thinners. If so, you’ll begin taking an antiplatelet medication called clopidogrel (Plavix®) and aspirin. If not, you’ll have another TEE at 6 months.

If you were able to stop taking your blood thinner at day 45, you’ll now be able to stop taking your antiplatelet medication. You’ll keep taking aspirin on an ongoing basis.

Your doctor may schedule another TEE to check on your implant and make sure that your left atrial appendage is fully sealed.