How Does the WATCHMAN™ Device Work?
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a heart rhythm disorder in which the heart beats irregularly. During AFib, the two upper chambers of the heart (the atria) quiver instead of beating properly to effectively move blood into the heart’s two lower chambers (the ventricles). AFib can cause blood to pool and clot. If a blood clot enters the bloodstream, it can travel to the brain and result in a stroke. Approximately 95 percent of strokes that occur in patients with AFib are from clots that form in the left atrial appendage (LAA). Many patients are prescribed a blood thinner like warfarin to lower the risk of stroke, however, some patients experience unwanted side effects from long-term blood thinner therapy.
The WATCHMAN™ device is the first of its kind alternative treatment for AFib used to reduce stroke risk without the need for medication. The device is designed to close the left atrial appendage and prevent blood clots from entering the bloodstream. Over time, heart tissue grows over the device and it becomes a permanent part of the body.