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A cardiologist holds a stethoscope to check her patient's heart rate and rhythm.

WATCHMAN device for atrial fibrillation

WATCHMAN is a device placed in the heart’s left atrial appendage (LAA) with a minimally invasive procedure. It is meant for people with atrial fibrillation (AFib) that is not caused by a heart valve problem. AFib impacts the heart’s ability to pump blood normally, causing blood to pool in the LAA. In some cases, AFib creates blood clots that can cut off blood supply to the brain and cause a stroke.

Who is a candidate for WATCHMAN?

  • People with non-valvular AFib
  • Patients whose physicians have recommended blood thinners, but need an alternative
  • People who have experienced major bleeding while taking blood thinners
  • Someone who is at an increased risk of major bleeding due to their lifestyle, occupation, or preexisting conditions
  • Those who are struggling with taking their blood thinners as described

Two types of WATCHMAN devices for AFib

There are two versions of the WATCHMAN device: The original WATCHMAN and the WATCHMAN FLX, a newer generation of the device. Both are made of nickel-titanium and are implanted through the same procedure. The main difference between the two implants is in the shape: WATCHMAN FLX was designed to treat patients whose anatomies were not compatible with the original device.

WATCHMAN’s risk factors

  • Arrhythmias
  • Blood clots or air bubbles
  • Clot formation on the device
  • Hypotension
  • Stroke

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