People with atrial fibrillation (AF) are most likely to suffer blood clots which originate from an area of the heart known as the left atrial appendage. Those clots can move to the brain and cause a potentially debilitating stroke.
Blood thinners, such as Coumadin (Warfarin), Pradaxa, Xarelto, and Eliquis, are commonly employed to prevent blood clotting in patients who have been diagnosed with AF. For many patients, however, use of these thinners can result in excessive bleeding.
The Watchman™ device could replace the need for blood thinners in qualified candidates with AF. During the procedure, the cardiologist guides the device through a catheter into the left atrial appendage – the area of the heart where the majority of clots form - and effectively close it off and eliminate any future risk of clot formation in that area.
This painless procedure takes no more than an hour to complete and is done under general anesthesia. Patients can usually return home to their normal activities the very next day, though they may be required to stay on blood thinners for a short period of time while their heart tissue forms around implanted device. You should consult your cardiologist to see if you qualify for the device.