WATCHMAN™ A Revolutionary Approach to Reducing Stroke Risk for A-Fib

Catholic Medical Center’s New England Heart & Vascular Institute is the first in New England to offer patients with atrial fibrillation an alternative to anticoagulation medication to reduce stroke risk. Catholic Medical Center is recognized by Boston Scientific as a Top National Implanting Center of the WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Device.

Blood-thinning medications such as warfarin, also known as COUMADIN®, can have serious side effects, including bleeding. The WATCHMAN implant blocks the left atrial appendage — where clots can form and enter the blood stream, causing a stroke — reducing clot formation and stroke risk for patients with A-Fib.

Clinical trials have concluded that 92 percent of A-Fib patients studied could stop taking warfarin or COUMADIN 45 days after WATCHMAN device implantation. Over 99 percent stopped taking blood thinners within one year.

Watch the video below for an animated overview of the procedure.

WATCHMAN Implantation Process

  • Through a catheter inserted in the femoral artery in the upper thigh, the interventional cardiologist uses imaging to guide the WATCHMAN device into the heart.
  • The device passes from the right to the left side of the heart and is implanted so it blocks the left atrial appendage.
  • After an overnight hospital stay and 24-hour recovery period, the patient goes home.
  • Patients continue warfarin or COUMADIN use for about six weeks. After 45 days, a TEE confirms if the implant is successfully positioned and the left atrial appendage is closed.

WATCHMAN Implantation Candidates

Patients taking blood thinners for atrial fibrillation who are interested in learning if they are a candidate for WATCHMAN device implantation are seen by a New England Heart & Vascular Institute specialist. The evaluation process includes conducting a medical history, physical and transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE). Patients should consider the risks and benefits of device implantation before scheduling the procedure.