WATCHMANTM: Reducing Stroke Risk Among Patients With AFib
Do you need to get off blood thinners? Meet WATCHMANTM– now available at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center.
WATCHMANTMIs An Alternative to Blood Thinners.
WATCHMANTM, the Left Atrial Appendage Closure Implant, has provided over 50,000 patients around the world with an alternative to blood thinners like warfarin.
WATCHMANTM is a one-time procedure at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center that may reduce stroke risk for a lifetime in people with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem. WATCHMANTM is a permanent implant that closes off a part of the heart where blood clots commonly form.
In a clinical trial, 9 out of 10 people were able to stop taking warfarin just 45 days after getting WATCHMANTM. At one year, 99 out of 100 people were able to stop taking warfarin. This can lower the risk of bleeding associated with the long-term use of blood thinners like warfarin.
Taking Warfarin for AFib?
You may have heard that atrial fibrillation increases your risk of having a stroke. In fact, a person with AFib is 5 times more likely, on average, to suffer a stroke than someone with a regular heartbeat.
That’s because AFib causes your heart to beat irregularly, which affects its ability to pump blood normally. And when the heart doesn’t pump as it should, blood can collect and form clots. If a clot escapes, it can cut off the blood supply to the brain—causing a stroke.
How WATCHMANTM Works
- WATCHMANTM fits into a part of your heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA).
- 90% of stroke-causing blood clots that come from the heart are formed in the LAA.
- WATCHMANTM permanently closes off this part of your heart to keep those blood clots from escaping.
The WATCHMANTM Implant is about the size of a quarter, and it doesn’t require open-heart surgery. Here’s what happens during the procedure.
- To implant WATCHMANTM, your doctor makes a small cut in your upper leg and inserts a narrow tube.
- Your doctor then guides WATCHMANTM through the tube, into your left atrial appendage (LAA).
- The procedure is done under general anesthesia and typically takes about an hour. People who get the WATCHMANTM Implant usually stay in the hospital overnight and go home the next day.
- After the procedure, you’ll take warfarin until your LAA is permanently closed off—usually just 45 days.
- During that time, heart tissue grows over the WATCHMANTM Implant to form a barrier against blood clots.