The risk of stroke in patients with AFib is high. Nearly one in three patients will experience one. Because of this, many who suffer with AFib are forced to remain on medications like warfarin to prevent blood clots and reduce the risk of stroke.

That can be problematic, however, because these medications affect the entire body, and they may not be well tolerated by everyone who takes them. Side effects can include bruising, nosebleeds, gastrointestinal bleeding, and a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke, especially if the dosage isn’t properly maintained.

The good news is, there is a new FDA-approved device called the WATCHMAN that can be a long-term alternative to drug therapy for people with atrial fibrillation or an increased risk of stroke. The even better news is that the WATCHMAN procedure is proven successful in 94.7 percent of patients.

About the WATCHMAN Device

For select patients, the WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device offers an alternative to warfarin in the prevention of a potentially life-threatening stroke. It’s an alternative to blood thinners, which some patients may not tolerate well due to a high risk of bleeding.

How the WATCHMAN Device Works

It’s a clever device that can prevent blood clots in the left atrial appendage (LAA), which is a site that blood clots can form in people with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. A cardiologist places this device at the opening of the LAA, where it adheres to the tissue via ten active fixation anchors to increase its stability. It then conforms to the LAA, which reduces surface area in the region. This in turn reduces the risk of blood clots forming.

Success Rate of the WATCHMAN Procedure

This procedure has emerged as a life-changing alternative for people who live with a daily risk of stroke and who want an alternative to drug treatment therapy. It has been implanted in more than 10,000 patients around the world—and it has been successful in 94.7 percent of those patients.

Is the WATCHMAN Procedure Right for Me?

The WATCHMAN isn’t for everyone with an abnormal heart rhythm, and it’s not a universal alternative to medication. However, carefully chosen patients may be eligible for it. This includes:

  • Patients with atrial fibrillation not caused by heart valve problems.
  • Patients who have been recommended to take blood-thinning medications by their doctor.
  • Patients who can take warfarin but need an alternative to blood thinners because they have a history of bleeding or a lifestyle that puts them at higher risk for bleeding.

Curious to learn more about the WATCHMAN and whether it is right for you? Dr. Dilip Mathew is one of the first cardiac electrophysiologists in the area to offer this groundbreaking procedure. If eligible, this device can lower your risk of stroke-causing clots so that you can eventually discontinue the use of warfarin therapy. If you are an AFib patient in the Sarasota area and think you could be a candidate for this device, schedule a consultation with Heart Rhythm Consultants today.

About Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A.

The experienced electrophysiologists of Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A. have been serving West Florida including Sarasota, Venice, Tampa, Port Charlotte, and Sun City Center for over 15 years. Our specialty cardiologists, or EP doctors, help patients manage their abnormal heart rhythm conditions, whether they suffer from arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation (AFib), or other irregular heartbeats. Dr. Dilip J. Mathew, Dr. Antonio Moretta, and Dr. Rajesh Malik perform arrhythmia treatments like cardiac ablation, cryoablation, and implanting pacemakers or defibrillators. Dr. Mathew has performed nearly 5,000 complex cardiac ablations. View our office locations in Sarasota and Venice, Florida.