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Why the WATCHMAN Implant
The WATCHMAN Implant may be a life-changing alternative to the lifelong use of blood thinners for those who need one. In a one-time procedure, the WATCHMAN Implant effectively reduces the risk of stroke in people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem.1
Over 1/3 of people with AFib feel trapped between the fear of having a stroke and fear of the risks associated with blood thinners. In fact, more than 4 in 5 people with AFib taking a blood thinner (83%) say they would be willing to try a different treatment to help reduce their risk of stroke.2
As a permanent procedure, the WATCHMAN Implant doesn’t come with the same bleeding risks associated with the long-term use of blood thinners.3 This makes it an important option for people with a history or risk of serious bleeding on blood thinners.
There are risks associated with all medical procedures. Please talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits associated with the WATCHMAN Implant.
Real People and the WATCHMAN Implant
If you have atrial fibrillation and you take a blood thinner to reduce your stroke risk, you’re probably aware of the bleeding risks that come with your medication. The longer you’re on blood thinners, the more you’re at risk for a bleeding episode.
Hear about these real people who had serious bleeding events while taking blood thinners. In the following videos, they talk about their experiences, the effects on their families, and why their doctors recommended the WATCHMAN Implant. If you, too, have a history of serious bleeding, then the WATCHMAN Implant may be right for you.
You may also be a candidate for the WATCHMAN Implant if you have a lifestyle or condition that increases your risk for serious bleeding. Certain lifestyles or conditions may increase your bleeding risk by putting you at higher risk for falls or making you prone to injury in other ways. Talk to your cardiologist about your risk.
“I’m so much more relaxed about enjoying things I want to do.”
Carole knew blood thinners were not working for her but her doctor told her she wasn’t ready for the WATCHMAN Implant. She advocated for herself to push for the WATCHMAN Implant and get the stroke risk protection she wanted, enabling her to travel without worry.
(Video length: 3:03)
“You’re never too old to improve your life.”
At 87, Joyce still keeps her hands busy knitting and painting, and volunteering to help others in her community. Taking blood thinners for her AFib stroke risk caused issues with gastric bleeding among other side effects, so she jumped at the chance to get a WATCHMAN Implant and 6 years later she is happy to still be living life on her terms.
(Video length: 2:48)
“The WATCHMAN is the best decision I ever made in my life."
Rod is young and active but struggled with health issues that made taking blood thinners for the rest of his life a non-starter. He’s happy knowing WATCHMAN fits perfectly into his heart and lifestyle, enabling him to live his life to the fullest.
(Video length: 2:52)
“The risk of blood thinners versus WATCHMAN? It was a no-brainer.”
Getting a WATCHMAN Implant has made a huge difference in Wayne’s life. Being very active, he immediately knew that the risks and side effects of blood thinners would hold him back from the life he wanted to live. After his implant procedure, he’s back to yoga, hiking and volunteering -- all without the worries of bleeding or stroke.
(Video length: 3:20)
“After the WATCHMAN, the difference in Linda is night and day.”
For Linda, the fear and anxiety of blood thinners was keeping her from enjoying her retirement with her husband, Skip. Now that she has the WATCHMAN Implant, she feels free to travel and make the most of her retirement community.
(Video length: 2:29)
The most common questions about the WATCHMAN Implant, answered by patients
What’s the procedure like? Can you have the WATCHMAN Implant if you also have a stent? How is life different after the WATCHMAN Implant? Seven people who left blood thinners behind answer questions like these.
(Video length: 2:44)
If You Struggle with Blood Thinners
People with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem are often prescribed blood thinners to reduce their stroke risk but they can come with challenges and bleeding worry. Taking a blood thinner means daily pills, long-term usage, complications to surgeries and increased bleeding risk which grows over time.
If you need an alternative, talk to your cardiologist about whether the WATCHMAN Implant is right for you.
Who the WATCHMAN Implant Is For
The WATCHMAN Implant may be right for people who:
- Have atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem (also known as non-valvular AFib)
- Have been recommended for blood thinning medicines by their doctor
- Have a meaningful reason to need an alternative to blood thinners
People may need an alternative to blood thinners for any one of these reasons:
- Have had major bleeding while taking blood thinners
- Have a lifestyle, occupation, or condition that puts them at risk for major bleeding
- Have difficulties taking their blood thinner as prescribed (staying in INR range, following dietary restrictions, missing doses or inability to afford the prescription)
As with any medical procedure, there are risks involved with the WATCHMAN Implant. See the Important Safety Information below for a list of possible complications, and ask your cardiologist about the risks and benefits of the WATCHMAN Implant.
The WATCHMAN Implant is for people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem who need an alternative to blood thinners. This website is intended to provide patients and caregivers with some information about the WATCHMAN Implant. It may help prepare you for talking to your doctor about your options for reducing stroke risk.
Important Safety Information
The WATCHMAN FLX and WATCHMAN FLX Pro Devices are permanent implants designed to close the left atrial appendage in the heart in an effort to reduce the risk of stroke.
With all medical procedures there are risks associated with the implant procedure and the use of the device. The risks include but are not limited to accidental heart puncture, air embolism, allergic reaction, anemia, anesthesia risks, arrhythmias, AV (Arteriovenous) fistula, bleeding or throat pain from the TEE (Trans Esophageal Echo) probe, blood clot or air bubbles in the lungs or other organs, bruising at the catheter insertion site, clot formation on the device, cranial bleed, excessive bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding, groin puncture bleed, hypotension, infection/pneumonia, pneumothorax, pulmonary edema, pulmonary vein obstruction, renal failure, stroke, thrombosis and transient ischemic attack. In rare cases death can occur.
Be sure to talk with your doctor so that you thoroughly understand all of the risks and benefits associated with the implantation of the device.
- Holmes DR Jr, Doshi SK, Kar S, et al. Left atrial appendage closure as an alternative to warfarin for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation: a patient-level meta-analysis. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015;65(24):2614-2623.
- WatchUsNow.com. The Harris Poll online survey. Boston Scientific. SH-574213-AA. https://www.watchusnow.com/?page=d75be9d4-ba36-456c-a72d-dc3df07892da. Accessed March 28, 2019.
- Price MJ, Reddy VY, Valderrábano M, et al. Bleeding outcomes after left atrial appendage closure compared with long-term warfarin. JACC Cardiovasc Interv. 2015;8(15):1925-1932.