The WATCHMAN Procedure

Reducing Your Risk for Stroke without Blood Thinners

The WATCHMAN FLX™ procedure is an effective alternative to blood thinners that reduces the risk of stroke. It is a one-time procedure that implants a permanent medical device into the left atrial appendage (LAA). Once implanted, the appendage is closed up and the WATCHMAN prevents blood clots from forming. The WATCHMAN is ideal for patients who suffer from Atrial Fibrillation (AFib).

Interested in WATCHMAN FLX™? Call (585) 260-0879 or contact your PCP.

What is AFib?

AFib is a common irregular heart rhythm that arises from the top chambers of the heart. AFib significantly increases your risk for stroke. It affects the heart’s ability to pump blood and causes blood to pool in the left atrial appendage (LAA).

In the LAA, blood can stick together to form a clot, escape the LAA, and travel anywhere in the body. If the blood clot travels to the brain, it can cut off the blood supply to the brain and cause a stroke. More than 90% of strokes in AFib are caused by blood clots formed in the LAA.

Blood clots that form in the LAA are typically prevented by blood thinners, but blood thinners also significantly increase the risk for serious or life-threatening bleeding. Many patients have difficulty staying on blood thinners due to their health history or lifestyle.

You might need an alternative to blood thinners if you have a:

  • history of bleeding
  • higher risk for major bleeding on a blood thinner. Examples include:
    • Lifestyle: extreme or contact sports, biking, and hunting
    • Occupation: manual laborer, airline pilot, race car driver
    • Conditions: history of falls, seizures, heartburn, or stomach ulcers
  • difficulty staying within the therapeutic range for warfarin 

The WATCHMAN FLX™ procedure allows patients to stay off blood thinners, which reduces their risk of bleeding. It is a minimally invasive procedure without any incision or stitches and is currently an FDA-approved alternative to blood thinners to reduce stroke in AFib.

Have questions? You're not alone.

Watch the video below where Dr. Depta answers the most commonly searched questions about the WATCHMAN procedure.

video still of the watchman left atrial appendage implant video

WATCHMAN Patient Animation

Learn more about the WATCHMAN procedure by watching the patient animation video that includes information on AF stroke risk and more.

Watch the Video

Our Cardiology Experts Have Performed More Than 500 WATCHMAN Procedures

To find out if you are a candidate for the WATCHMAN procedure take the survey below. 

Take this survey to see if you are candidate for the WATCHMAN procedure

Benefits of WATCHMAN

  • WATCHMAN FLX™ provides a similar reduction in stroke as compared with warfarin,  and significantly reduces:
    • Bleeding (serious and life-threatening)
    • Hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in the brain)
    • Death

Are You a Candidate for WATCHMAN FLX™?

Not everyone is a candidate for the WATCHMAN FLX™ Left Atrial Appendage Implant procedure. You are a candidate for WATCHMAN if you: 

  • Have AFib
  • Have been recommended or are currently taking blood thinners for AFib
  • Can take blood thinners but are seeking an alternative 

Take this survey to find out if you are a candidate for WATCHMAN

What to Expect

Before the Procedure

The device is implanted successfully in more than 95% of patients. You'll meet with our nurse navigator and physician to discuss the benefits and risks of the procedure including alternative treatment options.

You may be required to undergo a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) or CT scan to better understand your anatomy and help plan the procedure.

During the Procedure

The WATCHMAN procedure takes approximately one hour to perform and is done under general anesthesia. Your physician will insert the device using a vein in your leg, and then use a long tube (or catheter) and TEE image guidance to deliver the WATCHMAN device to the left atrial appendage.

After the Procedure

Following the procedure, patients go to recovery and are on bed rest for a few hours. Typically, they can leave the hospital the same day or the following day with minimal restrictions.

Contact Us

For more information about WATCHMAN, please contact our nurse navigator by phone at (585) 260-0879, or email [email protected].

female doctor illustration

Schedule a Consultation Today

Call (585) 442-5320 to meet with a heart disease specialist at the Rochester Regional Health Sands-Constellation Heart Institute.
Call Now