For people who have atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, blood clots that cause strokes are a danger. The WATCHMAN™ device permanently seals off the left atrial appendage, a section of the heart that is the site of almost all stroke-causing blood clots in people who have A-fib. If a patient cannot take blood thinners due to side effects or bleeding problems, their doctor may recommend a Left Atrial Appendage Closure with WATCHMAN as an option for stroke risk reduction. See the Video Aide.
Why choose Nebraska Heart for the WATCHMAN™?
- NH was the first facility in the region to implant the Watchman device.
- NH completed the first WATCHMAN cases on September 28, 2015.
- NH continues to lead WATCHMAN volume regionally as well as in the top 25% nationally.
- NH is working to become a training site for other facilities starting a WATCHMAN program.
Facts at a glance: The WATCHMAN™
- It’s the only FDA-approved device of its kind designed to prevent blood clots that form in the left atrial area from entering the bloodstream and causing strokes.
- Watchman is covered by Medicare and Medicaid Services for patients meeting coverage criteria.
- The device has a mesh membrane that is spring-loaded to expand to about the size of a quarter once a doctor places it in the left atrial area.
- This meshing acts as a filter: It allows blood to pass through while stopping clots.
- The WATCHMAN™ is permanent. Heart tissue eventually grows over the device.
- The device has no batteries or wires.
- Most patients who get the WATCHMAN™ can stop taking blood-thinning medications within 45 days.
What is the WATCHMAN™?
The WATCHMAN™ is a self-expanding device that seals off the left atrial appendage, which is located at the top left chamber of your heart. In a normally-functioning heart, blood fills and then leaves the left atrial area with each heartbeat. If you have an arrhythmia like A-fib, blood can remain in this area. This increases your risk for blood clots and strokes. The WATCHMAN™ creates a permanent barrier that prevents blood clots that may form in the left atrial area from entering the bloodstream and causing a stroke.
The WATCHMAN™ procedure
Our team of electrophysiologists and interventional cardiologists implant the WATCHMAN™ device using a nonsurgical procedure. The nonsurgical procedure lasts about an hour and involves several steps:
- You will receive anesthesia.
- Your doctor inserts a catheter (plastic tube) into a vein in your groin area.
- Your doctor guides the WATCHMAN™ device through the catheter to the opening of your left atrial area.
- Once the device is in place, it expands to create a mesh barrier of the left atrial area.
- You will most likely stay overnight in the hospital following the procedure.
Call (800) 644-3627 to schedule a consultation.