Jwc111
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Jwc111, March 3,  2018  1:47am EST

Watchman

has anyone had a Watchman implanted?  I am going to talk to my doctor about using a Watchman rather than taking blood thinners.
10 Replies
  • Jeanamo
    Jeanamo, March 3,  2018  7:32am EST
    Hi, jwc111....glad to have you post in this forum asking about the watchman procedure.  It seems that it can often be a solution for those who cannot tolerate blood thinners.  My sister-in-law could not take anticoagulants because of bleeding problems.  She subsequently had the watchman procedure and it has worked well for her so far.  It does not STOP the a-fib, but fortunately for her, she was not very symptomatic most of the time when she had an episode. She has paroxysmal a-fib and still has some minor episodes of which she is aware.   However, she is much more comfortable after having the watchman so that she could stop the anticoagulants that were causing bleeding.As I understand it, the watchman is a "filter" placed so that a blood clot will not form during a-fib.  It would be wise to discuss this option with your physician to have a complete understanding of the pluses and minuses of the procedure.  If it is decided that you are a good candidate for it, be sure that the electrophysiologist is experienced with the procedure and that it is done in an experienced facility.  There may be others in this group who can give you more information about the watchman procedure by sharing information and their experiences with it..Wishing  you the best...Jean(My A-Fib Experience Community Leader)
  • Goddess
    Goddess, March 4,  2018  1:21am EST
    Jwc111 - yes I had the Watchman device procedure done last November. I am a person who bleeds with taking anticoagulants (I’ve taken them for over 10 years now) and have suffered with iron deficiency anemia most of my adult life. Last April, after switching to Eliquis I ended up in the hospital with a major gut bleed and a hemoglobin of 4.2. Had 3 blood transfusions, spent a week in the hospital trying to find the source of the bleed (couldn’t find it), and a month off from work recuperating. My cardiologist suggested Watchman to me. Went for a second opinion and second cardiologist also recommended it. If you have specific questions I would be happy to snswer them for you and share my experience with having this procedure.
  • Jwc111
    Jwc111, March 4,  2018  2:33am EST
    Goddess,glad you are doing well with the Watchman.i am taking Xarelto now and have not having any bleeding problems.  My main reason for exploring the Watchman would be the cost of the Xarelto.that said my health is more important than the cost and I don’t want to take any risks.  Do you think that this procedure is as effective at the blood thinner.
  • Mellanie at StopAfib.org
    Mellanie at StopAfib.org, March 4,  2018  4:49am EST
    Left Atrial Appendage closure devices, such as the Watchman, AtriClip, Lariat, etc., are an area that most people don't know much about, including many doctors. We have done panels on the topic at the past few afib patient conferences, and will do that again this year.Additionally, because there is such a need, we are working on having a webinar on the topic as well. I am awaiting confirmation from the faculty member (one of the world's experts on the topic) and we will get it scheduled as soon as I have that.I know I'm sounding like a broken record this morning, but if you sign up for our StopAfib newsletter, you will get notification of the date and details for the webinar (and an invitation to the patient conference). Go to the top of the page at http://stopafib.org to sign up for the newsletter.Mellanie
  • Jwc111
    Jwc111, March 5,  2018  1:48am EST
    Thanks Melanie,signed up for the news letter.
  • Mellanie at StopAfib.org
    Mellanie at StopAfib.org, March 5,  2018  5:00am EST
    I have received private requests for info on the AtriClip because many people are not familiar with it. It is used by cardiothoracic surgeons in mini maze (minimally-invasive surgery) and Cox maze IV (open-chest surgery) to close off the left atrial appendage. Here are some stories at StopAfib.org that explain it.FDA Approval of AtriClip (2010): https://www.stopafib.org/newsitem.cfm/NEWSID/268 Video with Dr. Damiano about the AtriClip (2013): https://www.stopafib.org/newsitem.cfm/NEWSID/450Mellanie
  • Goddess
    Goddess, March 6,  2018  4:52am EST
    Jwc111:  I can't answer that question about having such a device inserted is as effective as taking a blood thinner.  If you talk with the surgical teams that do the procedure or look on line and read what the manufacturer says then yes it is as effective as taking a blood thinner.  Like Mellanie mentioned this has been a topic of discussion among the experts for awhile now, and I will definitely sign up for the newsletter because I would really like to hear the webinar on this subject.  I was between a rock and a hard place because of my health.  If I could take a blood thinner without having issues with bleeding, I wouldn't have considered the Watchman procedure. I had open heart surgery in 1963 (the dark ages) to close a hole in my heart, ablation for flutter in 2016 and the watchman in 2017. If I never need another surgery or procedure done on my heart I will consider myself blessed.  All of it scares me. I do understand about the cost of taking these newer anticoagulants, but some of the manufacturers offer discounts, etc.  When you talk with your doctor about the watchman I would ask about discounts or coupons for the medication, too.
  • starfire
    starfire, September 4,  2018  10:37am EST

    Greetings All, just a quick question, I think I understand the "watchman" device, what I do not understand is what is the purpose of the left atrial appendage ?? I have done some research and reading on this topic, have never found any description of purpose of the LAA....I do have afib, have had 3 ablations over the last 8 years, still dealing with it all. now on blood thinners due to the afib.... I do have an implanted medtronics heart monitor hoping this data will be helpful in some final answers for me. so my question is does anyone know or understand the purpose of the LAA???

  • MellanieSAF
    MellanieSAF, September 5,  2018  7:38pm EST

    There is research showing that the left atrial appendage plays a role in thirst regulation, and if you have it closed off, you have to regulate thirst yourself. But, I often say, "It doesn't matter if I know that I am thirsty if I'm dead from a stroke." I have learned to regulate thirst and thus not having a left atrial appendage is just not an issue.

    Mellanie

  • starfire
    starfire, September 7,  2018  7:33am EST

    Mellanie, thank you for your help on this.

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