Individuals living with atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) now have access to a cutting-edge, new treatment option at Bayhealth. The innovative Watchman procedure provides an effective and minimally invasive alternative to the lifelong use of blood thinners for select patients with A-Fib.
Life with A-Fib, Reimagined
A-Fib causes the heart to beat irregularly, greatly increasing the risk of stroke in individuals who have it. For patients diagnosed with A-Fib, doctors often prescribe long-term blood thinner use — a course of treatment with associated risks around falls, bleeding, and strokes.
By implanting a Watchman device, Bayhealth cardiologists can help prevent strokes among patients with A-Fib. The implant results in limited (or even eliminated) need for blood thinners. Performed without the need to open the chest, the minimally-invasive procedure implants the Watchman device inside the heart and blocks the area most prone to clotting. Speak to a Bayhealth cardiologist about the Watchman program.
What to Expect From the Watchman Procedure
Performed under general anesthesia, the Watchman procedure typically takes an hour. About the size of a quarter, the implant blocks the left atrial appendage (LAA) of the heart, preventing blood from entering the area and forming clots. Traditionally, surgeons have addressed the LAA through open-heart surgery. Instead, the Watchman procedure deploys the device through a narrow tube (called a catheter) inserted via the groin. Patients often go home the next day. Use of blood thinners continues until the LAA fully closes off and a layer of protective heart tissue grows around the implant.
Learn more about the Watchman device and procedure in the video below.
Backed by Decades of Research
Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Watchman implant represents nearly 20 years of research and clinical trials. More than 150,000 procedures have been performed worldwide. Patients who receive the implant are typically able to discontinue blood thinners within two months. In fact, in a recent clinical trial, 96 percent of participants discontinued the use of blood thinners within 45 days of undergoing the procedure. Learn more about surgeries and procedures performed by the Bayhealth heart and vascular team.