The WATCHMAN Implant is a one-time, minimally invasive procedure for people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem (also known as non-valvular AFib) who need an alternative to blood thinners.

Watchman Device

What is WATCHMAN LAAC implant?

The WATCHMAN device is a parachute-shaped self-expanding device permanently implanted in the LAA sealing it off. It prevents blood clots in the LAA from entering the bloodstream. It is made of materials that are common to many medical devices, is about the size of a quarter, and it cannot be seen outside the body.

WATCHMAN Implant diagram

How is the WATCHMAN device implanted?

The WATCHMAN Implant is typically performed while you are asleep. Your doctor will guide the WATCHMAN device into your heart through a flexible tube (catheter) inserted through a vein in your upper leg. Once the position is confirmed, your doctor will release the implant to leave it permanently in the heart. The implant does not require open heart surgery. You would then need to stay in the hospital overnight and recovery typically takes about 24 hours. After 6 weeks, you may be able to stop taking your blood thinner.

What are the steps before WATCHMAN implant?

To see if you are a possible candidate for treatment with the WATCHMAN device, you will have a comprehensive assessment by the WATCHMAN team at Prairie Heart Institute. This will include:

  • A Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)
    TEE images are used to evaluate the shape and size of your LAA. The measurements will help your doctor determine the size of the LAAC device. You will not be able to eat or drink anything 6 hours prior to the TEE.
    On the day of your TEE you will have a blood draw to evaluate basic lab values.

Frequently Asked Questions

The most significant benefit for patients is that they no longer require anticoagulation for their atrial fibrillation.  

Most patients typically leave the hospital in 1-2 days after the procedure.  

Watchman is a minimally invasive procedure. Your cardiologist will provide you with instructions for the day of the procedure.