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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 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.


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Replies to "Hi Billie, Because it has been less than a month since the Watchman was implanted, I..."

Hi Mary. Did you have the tee done yesterday? I will be having the echo done Nov 7th to see how the watchman is doing?