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WATCHMAN Device for Atrial Fibrillation

Beebe offers the WATCHMAN™ program for non-valvular patients with atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib) at the Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus. The WATCHMAN™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device allows patients to return to healthy lives without the increased risk of stroke or a potentially fatal bleeding event. The WATCHMAN Closure Device is FDA approved as a safe and effective method for non-valvular atrial fibrillation patients.

If you are experiencing chest pain, call 911.

Who is a candidate for WATCHMAN?

As we age, we may develop an abnormal heart rhythm, known as atrial fibrillation or AFib. Those with AFib may have symptoms such as:

  • General fatigue.
  • Rapid and irregular heartbeat.
  • Fluttering or “thumping” in the chest.
  • Dizziness.
  • Shortness of breath and anxiety.
  • Weakness.
  • Faintness or confusion.
  • Fatigue when exercising.

Untreated AFib can lead to blood clots that could cause a stroke. Your odds of having a stroke are the same as someone who does have symptoms. AFib's rapid heartbeat can weaken your heart muscle. This can lead to heart failure.

Patients with AFib who also have other ailments such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or liver failure, are at a higher risk for bleeding complications during procedures.

Patients who are on blood thinners, such as warfarin, are also at a greater risk for serious bleeding during procedures.

Having these complications could mean a patient has to decide to avoid having a potentially life-saving and life-improving procedure such as having their AFib corrected.

This is where WATCHMAN comes in. WATCHMAN is an alternative procedure for those at moderate to high risk of bleeding or stroke during a cardiac procedure.

The WATCHMAN™ is a one-time, minimally invasive procedure that can be life-changing for patients with AFib, not caused by a heart valve problem.

Additional Resources & Articles

How can you fix Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation or AF means you have an irregular heart rhythm. This irregularity increases your risk for stroke by five times. AF causes your heart to beat out of sync, which can affect blood flow. Some of the blood can collect in pockets and cause clots. These clots can then break off and cause a stroke.

About 90 percent of blood clots for patients with AFib occur in the LAA – left atrial appendage.

To treat nonvalvular AFib, doctors must reset the heart to its regular rhythm and prevent further irregular heartbeats. This can be done through a number of procedures. Patients with AFib are at a greater risk of stroke, so doctors prescribe blood thinners or anticoagulants to reduce the risk of blood clots that can lead to stroke.

To prevent these blood clots, the WATCHMAN team at Beebe can implant a small device to effectively close off the left atrial appendage, which reduces the risk of stroke.

What is the WATCHMAN Procedure?

The WATCHMAN procedure is similar to a stent procedure. A multidisciplinary cardiovascular team at Beebe, which includes an interventional cardiologist, electrophysiologist, cardiologist, and cardiac cath lab teams, install the Watchman device through a small incision, which allows a tube to thread up to the heart to implant the device.

By securely closing off the LAA using a WATCHMAN™ LAAC Device, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking anticoagulants. The WATCHMAN implant procedure is performed under general anesthesia in a catheterization laboratory setting using a standard transseptal technique.

The minimally invasive procedure usually lasts about an hour, and the patient is typically in the hospital for 24 hours following the procedure. The patient's cardiologist continues to monitor their atrial fibrillation on an ongoing basis.

The WATCHMAN Device is FDA approved and is registered in 75 countries, with over 10,000 implants performed worldwide.

Contact Carrie Snyder, Heart Health Nurse Navigator

Interested in the WATCHMAN™ procedure? Consult your cardiologist to determine if this procedure is right for you or contact Carrie Snyder, Beebe Nurse Navigator via the form below.