Atrial fibrillation (AFib) can have a significant impact on a person’s life, but the good news is that there are options available for managing this common heart condition. Specifically, WATCHMAN and ablation are two of the most effective procedures for AFib patients. By understanding the differences between the two procedures and when each is used, you can become better educated on heart health.

WATCHMAN

The WATCHMAN device is used to reduce the risk of stroke in patients living with AFib. WATCHMAN is designed to open the left atrial appendage to allow for easier blood flow. It is made up of a frame with mesh covering that expands to fit the size of the left atrial opening.

WATCHMAN attaches to the tissue by using ten anchors to increase stability. The device reduces the surface area that faces the left atrium, which decreases the risk of embolization. The WATCHMAN implant is inserted through a catheter.

WATCHMAN is best for patients with non-valvular AFib. The device is designed for those who are seeking a long-term solution for their AFib without the use of pharmaceuticals.

Ablation

Ablation involves the insertion of catheters into the blood vessels (usually through the neck or leg). During the procedure, doctors can use soundwaves to see an image of the heart and then use radio wave energy through the catheter to treat AFib directly from the source. This is done through the burning (and subsequent scarring over) of faulty spots in the heart. Once these heal up, the heart can naturally return to a steady rhythm without the need for a pacemaker.

If you’ve been diagnosed with AFib or have been experiencing symptoms of this heart condition, then make sure you’re seeking care from an experienced and dedicated heart rhythm doctor. Dr. Mathew and the team at Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A. can assist you in determining whether WATCHMAN or an ablation is the best solution for your Afib, or if a non-invasive treatment (such as medication) may be an alternative option. Contact us today to set up your appointment.