Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) is a common heart condition that increases the risk of stroke. Individuals with AFib have an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia, which prevents proper blood pumping, and increases the chances of blood clots.
Fortunately, medical advancements have introduced many possible solutions for stroke prevention. One such solution is the Watchman procedure. In this blog, we aim to provide an in-depth overview of the revolutionary Watchman procedure and how it can help patients with AFib.
The Watchman procedure is a minimally invasive surgical technique for patients with atrial fibrillation or those who are at a high risk of stroke. It involves implanting a small, device in the left atrial appendage to prevent blood clots from forming. The procedure can reduce the need for long term anticoagulation therapy, such as Warfarin, which can be associated with significant bleeding risks, especially in older patients.
The Watchman device is shaped like a tiny parachute and made of a pliable, self-expanding wire frame that is covered with material that promotes the growth of heart tissue over time. By implanting this device, the heart tissue eventually grows over the Watchman, sealing off the left atrial appendage, which prevents blood clots from forming or escaping into the bloodstream. Studies have shown that the Watchman procedure can decrease stroke risk by up to 80%.
The Watchman procedure is performed under general anesthesia. During the procedure, your doctor makes a small incision in the upper thigh and inserts a catheter into the femoral vein. The Watchman device is guided through the catheter and into the left atrial appendage, where it is securely implanted. After the procedure, you will need to stay in the hospital for a night or two for observation.
The benefits of the Watchman procedure include lowering the risk of stroke, reducing the need for long-term medication that has risks of bleeding, ease of recovery from the procedure, and a quicker return to normal activities. The procedure is less invasive than traditional surgeries and carries a minimal risk of complications.
The Watchman procedure can provide an innovative, minimally invasive approach to stroke prevention for individuals with AFib. It offers a number of benefits, including lowering the risk of stroke, reducing the need for long-term medication and minimizing or preventing bleeding events. With this procedure, patients can enjoy a quicker return to normal activities and a better quality of life. If you or a loved one suffer from AFib and would like to learn more about this revolutionary procedure, consult with your physician today. Stay healthy and stay safe!