There are several modifications of the devices for closing the left atrial appendage. One of them: the WATCHMAN device, which has been approved by the US FDA for reducing the risk of thromboembolism, from the left atrial appendage in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation who have an increased risk of stroke and systemic embolism and for whom anticoagulant therapy is recommended;
The WATCHMAN device is a self-expanding parachute-shaped occluder that closes the entrance to the left atrial appendage. It has been tested in many studies and has shown that the occluder is a good alternative to lifelong warfarin.
The WATCHMAN device is implanted percutaneously in an X-ray operating room. The implantation procedure does not require surgical intervention; and is performed under local anesthesia and light sedation. A catheter is inserted into a vein near the groin and passed through the atrial septum (the muscle wall that separates the right and left sides of the heart) to the orifice of the left atrial appendage. The device fits into the left atrial appendage and isolates it to prevent clots from forming.
If you are interested in treatment with the WATCHMAN device, you will need to consult with our interventional cardiologist.
Important information about the WATCHMAN occluder implantation procedure:
After the procedure, you will stay in the hospital overnight.
You will need to take aspirin and warfarin until your next visit.
You will have a transesophageal echocardiogram within 48 hours of your procedure.
Your first visit to the doctor will take place 45 days after your procedure. During this appointment, another transesophageal echocardiogram will be done. If she shows that the left atrial appendage is completely isolated, you can stop taking warfarin and start taking clopidogrel within 6 months. After 6 months, you will stop taking clopidogrel and continue your daily acetylsalicylic acid treatment.
If the transesophageal echocardiogram shows that the left atrial appendage is not isolated, you will continue to take warfarin for a follow-up examination and follow-up 6 months later.
After the left atrial appendage is completely isolated, you will be monitored annually at the clinic.