Watchman devices are small implants that are designed to prevent strokes in patients who suffer from atrial fibrillation (AFib). AFib is a condition that affects the heart’s rhythm and can cause blood clots, which can then lead to strokes. Watchman devices are a safe and effective way to prevent strokes in people with AFib, and they are becoming more widely used every day. In this guide, we will provide you with a comprehensive overview of watchman heart device, including how they work, who they are for, and what to expect during and after the implantation procedure.
How do Watchman devices work?
Watchman devices work by closing off the left atrial appendage (LAA), which is an area of the heart where blood clots can form. Blood clots that form in the LAA can travel to the brain and cause a stroke. By closing off the LAA with a Watchman device, the risk of stroke is significantly reduced. The device is inserted into the heart via a catheter that is fed through a vein in the groin. The procedure takes around an hour to complete and is done under local anesthetic.
Who is a good candidate for a Watchman device?
Patients who suffer from AFib and are at a high risk of stroke are good candidates for a Watchman device. The device is intended for patients who are not able to take blood-thinning medications such as warfarin or who have had previous complications with blood thinners. Additionally, patients who have experienced bleeding complications from blood thinners or who are deemed at high risk of bleeding are good candidates for Watchman device implantation.
What can I expect during the implantation procedure?
The implantation procedure typically lasts around an hour and is completed under local anesthetic. During the procedure, a small incision is made in the groin area, and a catheter is inserted, which is then fed up to the heart. The Watchman device is then inserted through the catheter and into the LAA, where it remains permanently. After the procedure, patients are typically monitored overnight in the hospital and are discharged the following day. Most patients are able to return to normal activities within a week.
What is the recovery like after a Watchman device implantation?
The recovery period after a Watchman device implantation is generally straightforward. Patients are typically monitored for a few hours after the procedure and may remain overnight in the hospital. After the implantation, patients will need to take blood thinners for a short period to prevent blood clots from forming on the device itself. Patients will also need to take antibiotics to prevent infection. Most patients are able to return to normal activities within a week after the implantation, although heavy lifting and strenuous exercise should be avoided for a few weeks.
What are the risks associated with a Watchman device implantation?
Watchman devices are generally safe and effective, although there are some risks associated with the procedure. The most common risks include bleeding and infection at the site of insertion, as well as damage to the heart. The risk of stroke after the implantation is also slightly increased for the first couple of months, as the device is settling into place. However, this risk decreases over time, and the overall risk of stroke is significantly reduced with the Watchman device in place.
Watchman devices are an effective and safe way to prevent strokes in patients with AFib. The device is implanted via a catheter, and the procedure takes around an hour to complete. Patients who are deemed to be at high risk of stroke are good candidates for the device, and most patients are able to return to normal activities within a week after the implantation. There are some risks associated with the procedure, including bleeding, infection, and damage to the heart, but these risks are relatively low. Overall, Watchman devices are an excellent option for preventing strokes in patients with AFib who are unable to take blood thinners or who have had complications with blood thinners in the past.