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Tresjur (@tresjur)

Any experences with Watchman Implant for A-Fib?

Heart Rhythm Conditions | Last Active: Oct 23 6:40am | Replies (251)

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Hi Mary!
Was very interested in reading your post. I’ve been on Eliquis for several years now and have had no problems until last month. On Sep 23, I developed a severe GI bleed, resulting in the loss of a lit of blood, a 5 day stay in the hospital, 2 blood transfusions and a significant setback overall. I believe my bleeding was caused from a gastric ulcer that started bleeding. Once the bleeding started, it wouldn’t stop because of the Eliquis. They gave me an anticoagulant to stop the bleeding and it worked. So, I’ve been off of all blood thinners since then, waiting for the ulcer to heal enough for me to restart the blood thinners. I’ve been in and out of aFib a number of times since then, and like you, worry constantly about having a stroke. I go back to my Electrophysiologist on Monday to see where to go next. I’ve been researching the pros and cons of the watchman and have about decided it’s my best bet. I’ve read where it isn’t as effective as a blood thinner, but then on the other hand, it’s not as dangerous either. I guess there’s no one stop quick fix, we just have to go with the best option. What do you think of my thoughts? Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.


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Replies to "Hi Mary! Was very interested in reading your post. I've been on Eliquis for several years..."

Hi Billie,

Because it has been less than a month since the Watchman was implanted, I don’t have much to offer in the way of pros or cons on its effectivity. For three years I was on nothing and then on 325 mg aspirin in the last year. What do you do when it seems your only option is to either bleed out or stroke out? Extremely scary worrying about either.

My decision to go with the Watchman was primarily to prevent clots and secondly to give me a little peace of mind from worrying about a stroke. Strokes (not A-Fib related) run in my family. I know what the quality of life is like after suffering a debilitating stroke from watching my aunt and grandma go through it. My primary care physician is happy with my decision as she had been worried about me not being on a thinner.

Your doctor will order a TEE to determine if you are an eligible candidate. The doctor will be looking for clots (hopefully none) and the size of the implant site to determine if the device will fit. Once I passed the TEE, because of my history of GI bleeds, I then saw my GI doctor who scheduled a colonoscopy and upper GI endoscopy looking for any areas that might bleed as I would again be on blood thinners. Two weeks before the procedure I went on coumadin, which was managed by an anticoagulation team that was in contact with me daily. My INR goal was 2.0 to 3.0 and but I never hit that mark. From day one, my INR was all over the place, but luckily after pigging out on leafy green vegetables the day before the implant, my INR went down to 3.0, and just prior to implantation it was a 1.9.

I stayed in the hospital overnight with hourly checks on the groin (incision site) and the stitches were removed the same day as the procedure. The incision site was rather painful that first day, but on the second day, the pain was down to a level 4. All looked good so I went home around noon.

I wanted to share my journey with you, however your journey may be different based on your current condition. I do know for sure that the initial TEE, and going on a blood thinner before and after the implantation is a requirement.

My suggestion to you is to do your due diligence, research, ask questions, and weigh the pro and cons. I even watched the procedure on YouTube…it’s amazing what is on YouTube, lol. What had me on the fence is finding out the Watchman can only be removed with open heart surgery. I pray that it never comes to that. Because I felt that I had really pushed my luck for four years without any treatment for the A-Fib, I decided I had to do something and for me the pros won.

My thought are if my body would/could tolerate the thinners I would stay on them, even with the dangers involved. I’m an advocate for “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I was doing fine on coumadin for 14 years then I switched to Pradaxa simply to avoid having to go for PT/INR testing. That’s when I ran into low hemogloblin and GI bleed problems. So far I haven’t had any problems with the Eliquis and should be off of them in another 25 days.


When I hear about all the problems with Pradaza and Equis I am thankful that I am still on warfarin


How long have you been on warfarin? I was on it for 14 years with no problems – switching to Pradaxa was my downfall.


Hi Mary,
Just wanted you to know I had the Watchman Device implanted this past Monday. Like with you, the stitches were removed the same day and I did stay overnight. I had no problems whatsoever with the procedure. My plan is to stay on Eliquis for 45 days, have a TEE on March 22 to determine if the opening is totally closed, then to get off of Eliquis and be on Plavix and baby aspirin for 6 months. If everything is fine during that period, I will quit taking the Plavix and only take the baby aspirin. Sounds like a pretty good plan. This week (since the Implant on Feb 5th) has been good – no problems at all! I’m hoping this is the start of an improvement stage!!
How are things going with you?

Take care!

Hello Billie,

I'm so sorry to have taken so long to write. Somewhere I missed your post so I did not know where you were in getting the implant. I'm so glad to hear that you finally had it done and all is going well for you. From your description, your procedural plan is actually what I experienced. Yesterday I had my final 6 month checkup and as of today, I am on the low dose aspirin only. My journey went well, I had no problems after the implantation and I have no complaints to date. It is a relief to be able to drop one med (Plavix) from my daily regime.

Take care and please keep in touch.