The risk of having a stroke is a real fear for the millions of Americans suffering from Atrial Fibrillation (AFib). For those with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem, there is a new, permanent solution called the WATCHMAN that to reduces patients’ risk of stroke and can eliminate the use of daily blood thinners.
The WATCHMAN implant is about the size of a quarter, made from very light, compact materials that are biologically compatible with the heart. The implant does not require a surgical incision and generally takes less than an hour. It is inserted through the leg vein, similar to traditional caths and coronary stent placements, and the procedure is performed under general anesthesia with the visual aid of ultrasound and X-ray fluoroscopy. The physician inserts a small, narrow tube in the upper leg and then guides the Watchman through the blood stream into the LAA.
The recovery from the procedure is an overnight stay in the hospital, and patients can expect to get back to full ability within a few days.