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Watchman Procedure for AFIB?
i have had AFIB since 2004, brought on by severe traumatic stress and Graves disease (hyperthyroid). at first was only episodic controlled with meds.. 2 ys ago became persistent. had a couple of cardioversions but did not work for very long. Have since had 2 ablations, last one being june last year. last one worked for less than 1 day, but one more cardiovert in oct did the trick.. so far still normal sinus rythym.. yay! still on elequis and blood pressure meds, all good.
one morning about 4 weeks ago i went pick up something with my right hand and it dropped out of my hand.. could not use that hand/arm for maybe 15 min, was a little light headed.. called 911.. ended up in hosp for 2 days, diagnosed TIA.
Follow up with my EP.. he believes that the TIA indicates that the blood thinner now is not enough protection against clotting and is recommending a WATCHMAN procedure consisting of implanting a device that will block off the atrial appendage where blood tends to pool. this done the same manner as an ablation. followin this i would not need to stay on blood thinners.
has anybody heard of this or had it done? i have done some research online but not a lot there.
MJ8629, February 16, 2020 1:44pm EST
Sorry you're going through this. I have heard of the Watchman device, which is a filter placed in the left atrial appendage. It's indicated for several situations, one of which is an individual's inability to tolerate an anticoagulant (blood thinner). It has a very high success rate, and you're right -- it's implanted through a minimally invasive procedure via a catheter. I would make sure you get someone who specializes in Watchman devices and has implanted a lot of them, with no/little complications. Good luck. And, you're not alone . . . lots of good folks on this forum experiencing a wide array of different issues related to AF. Mike
Heartfe6878, February 16, 2020 5:19pm EST
Gosh! this must be hard....Did you get a second opinion from a second Electrophyisiologist before considering this? Two opinions saying the same thing are a good guide when thinking about any surgery...
MJ8629, February 16, 2020 7:59pm EST
It is hard, but not impossible. I'm a candidate for the Watchman, but I haven't had one implanted yet. It depends on how it goes with the anticoagulant I'm on. (I've had a GI bleed that was aggravated by the Xrelto). In my opinion, the most critical decision one needs to make is the choice of the EP/Cardiology Group you use for your treatment. I think it's best to be seen by a group that uses a large medical center -- one that has a major heart/vascular institute -- with a proven track record in treating atrial fibrillation. These centers have cardiologists who specialize in the Watchman technology. And, you always can reach out to the Cleveland Clinic and get their advice. The most important treatment for AF is the reduction in the risk of stroke, so I would do everything you can to mitigate this risk. Take good care. Mike
Larkspur, February 17, 2020 11:39am EST
I know several people who have the Watchman. You would want the second generation, the flex, which is due to be released in the next few months. The people I know got the flex in a clinical trial. While it certainly gives good anticoagulation protection, the protocol recommends continuation with some sort of oral anticoagulant as well--usually aspirin but some EPs are prescribing something like a half dose of Eliquis--not all clots come from the LAA. Also, for some months after implantation you need to take an anticoagulation regime to prevent clots forming on the Watchman before it becomes covered by tissue.
At the moment, insurance coverage is a challenge but there is hope that this will change as insurance companies realize the financial benefits of the Watchman and more data is generated after the flex is released. As others have said, look for a hospital and operator who have a lot of experience with implanting the Watchman. Good luck with this!
rfedd, February 17, 2020 7:15pm EST
I also looked at this product and my cardiologist is able to and is able to implant the unit. The reviews did not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling.
CC354, February 18, 2020 7:34am EST
2ND generation, flex, Watchman? What do we know about this new device?
I am scheduled for the Watchman procedure at Mass General, Boston, in June 2020 and wonder if I should be asking about this.
Larkspur, February 18, 2020 1:24pm EST
The flex is supposed to be an improvement on the original Watchman, so yes, I'd say you should ask about whether this is what you will get. It should be available by June, but good to check.