The WATCHMAN™ implant is a device utilized as an alternative to long-term warfarin medication to reduce stroke risk in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. This procedure offers patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) an alternative to long-term warfarin medication.
The WATCHMAN™ implant closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA) to keep harmful blood clots that can form there from entering the bloodstream and potentially causing a stroke. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking warfarin.
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The WATCHMAN™ device is a breakthrough treatment for nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, WATCHMAN is an alternative to long-term anticoagulation that occludes the left atrial appendage (LAA) and significantly reduces stroke risk.
Approximately 90 percent of thrombi causing CVAs in AFib patients originate in the LAA. Traditionally, stroke prevention in AFib involves prescribing warfarin or a novel oral anticoagulant (NOAC). Warfarin and NOACs carry the possibility of devastating iatrogenic hemorrhage, particularly in patients who are at risk for bleeding.
Now, extensive clinical investigations show that left atrial appendage occlusion with the WATCHMAN™ device is comparable to warfarin in the prevention of stroke and systemic emboli. Short-term anticoagulation is prescribed post-procedure; however, after endothelialization of the device, anticoagulation for AFib can be stopped for life.
Steve Shepro, PA-C
Structural Heart Program
*The anticoagulation regimen may vary with each patient, as deemed appropriate by his or her medical team.