WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) implant is a non-valvular atrial fibrillation (afib) an alternative to long-term warfarin medication with the newly approved. For patients with afib who are considered suitable for warfarin by their physicians but who have reason to seek a non-drug alternative, the WATCHMAN is an alternative to reduce their risk of afib-related stroke. The WATCHMAN closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA) to keep harmful blood clots from the LAA from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking warfarin.

People with atrial fibrillation have a five times greater risk of stroke. Atrial fibrillation can cause blood to pool and form clots in the LAA. For patients with non-valvular afib, the LAA is believed to be the source of the majority of stroke-causing blood clots. If a clot forms in the LAA, it can increase one’s risk of having a stroke. Blood clots can break loose and travel in the blood stream to the brain, lungs, and other parts of the body.

The WATCHMAN Device can be implanted safely, enables patients to discontinue warfarin, and reduces afib stroke risk comparably to warfarin. In addition, the WATCHMAN Device demonstrated statistically superior reductions in hemorrhagic stroke, disabling stroke and cardiovascular death compared to warfarin over long-term follow-up:

  • 85% in hemorrhagic stroke
  • 63% in disabling stroke
  • 56% in cardiovascular death

Implanting the WATCHMAN Device is a one-time procedure that usually lasts about an hour. Following the procedure, patients typically need to stay in the hospital for 24 hours.

About Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (afib) is a heart condition where the upper chambers of the heart (atrium) beat too fast and with irregular rhythm (fibrillation). Afib is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, currently affecting more than five million Americans. Twenty percent of all strokes occur in patients with afib, and afib-related strokes are more frequently fatal and disabling. The most common treatment to reduce stroke risk in patients with afib is blood-thinning warfarin medication. Despite its proven efficacy, long-term warfarin medication is not well-tolerated by some patients and carries a significant risk for bleeding complications. Nearly half of afib patients eligible for warfarin are currently untreated due to tolerance and adherence issues.

The WATCHMAN Implant is designed to close the LAA in order to keep harmful blood clots from the LAA from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke for higher risk patients with non-valvular afib. The WATCHMAN Implant has been approved in Europe since 2005 and is FDA-approved in the United States. It has been implanted in more than 10,000 patients and is approved in more than 70 countries around the world.

For more information on the WATCHMAN implant, please visit: the WATCHMAN Implant website or call our 24/7 helpline 804-320-DOCS (3627). Ask your cardiologist or doctor if the WATCHMAN implant is right for you.

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