Any experences with Watchman Implant for A-Fib?

Posted by Tresjur @tresjur, Oct 5, 2017

I’ve been living with A-Fib for close to 20 years now. I took warfarin for 14 of those years and then switched to Pradaxa. After being on Pradaxa for 8 months, I started having GI bleeds and over the course of 14 months I had 8 blood transfusions. After ending up with a hemogloblin count of 5 and
an INR of 9, I ended up in ICU. After my release, and lengthy discussions with my cardiologist, we decided that my body could no longer tolerate the
blood thinners. For three years I went without any A-fib treatment and a year ago I started taking a full dose aspirin daily.

Early this summer I saw the TV ads for the Watchman, for people who cannot take blood thinners. It’s an jellyfish looking implant that is inserted in the
left atrial appendage of the heart. After implantation, heart tissue will grow over the device and provide blockage of clots that could travel to the brain.
I had the implantation done on September 13th, which requires an overnight stay in the hospital, and will be on Eliquis and an aspirin for about 45 days, then I will just take an aspirin daily for the rest of my life.

From reading the pros and cons of this device, it is my understanding that it does not work any better than blood thinners, but is an option for those who
cannot take the thinners. My first visit with the electrophysiologist is 2 weeks from today and at the end of October, I will undergo another TEE to determine
if all is working well.

I lived the 3 plus years not being on blood thinners with the though of stroke in the back of my mind. Even though I realize that nothing is 100% guaranteed or successful, I do have some relief now that I am again under treatment.

I’m posting this experience and wondering if anyone else has undergone this procedure and may be further along in their journey. It has been only 22 days
since my implant. I’m doing well so far and have not had a problem with the Eliquis so far.

Regards,
Mary

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Heart Rhythm Conditions Support Group.

@donaldwnelson

I’ve been on Warfarin for several years with no problem. I cringe when I read about Equis and Xeralto

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/Why does Xarelto make you cringe. I thought Warfarin had the same cons.

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To me the only drawback with being on warfarin, is the monitoring INR levels, is what the other products advertise as being their advantage. A possible down-side to the newer products is that unlike warfarin, there isn’t an antidote to reverse their effect in an emergency. I’m not sure if this is actually true, but certainly something to ask your healthcare professional about. I’ve been on warfarin for 5 years now without problems, other than the occasional INR being a little too low or two high depending on diet and hydration.

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@gr82balive

To me the only drawback with being on warfarin, is the monitoring INR levels, is what the other products advertise as being their advantage. A possible down-side to the newer products is that unlike warfarin, there isn’t an antidote to reverse their effect in an emergency. I’m not sure if this is actually true, but certainly something to ask your healthcare professional about. I’ve been on warfarin for 5 years now without problems, other than the occasional INR being a little too low or two high depending on diet and hydration.

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Thank you, I had thought that I was on Xarelto because it was newer and didn’t have to be monitored as closely. Didn’t know there was a down side. I will have a discussion with my cardiologist about why he put me on this vs. Warfarin. I’m new to all of this.

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@gr82balive

To me the only drawback with being on warfarin, is the monitoring INR levels, is what the other products advertise as being their advantage. A possible down-side to the newer products is that unlike warfarin, there isn’t an antidote to reverse their effect in an emergency. I’m not sure if this is actually true, but certainly something to ask your healthcare professional about. I’ve been on warfarin for 5 years now without problems, other than the occasional INR being a little too low or two high depending on diet and hydration.

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Today I reached the one-month mark since I had the Watchman implanted. My first follow-up appointment with the electrophysiologist is on the 17th and I pray all is okay. I’m feeling well but look forward to getting off the Eliquis as it does scare me that there is no reversal in case of bleeding. The next step is another TEE (on Oct. 30) to look at the implant from the esophagus.

Will keep you updated as I progress.

Mary

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@gr82balive

To me the only drawback with being on warfarin, is the monitoring INR levels, is what the other products advertise as being their advantage. A possible down-side to the newer products is that unlike warfarin, there isn’t an antidote to reverse their effect in an emergency. I’m not sure if this is actually true, but certainly something to ask your healthcare professional about. I’ve been on warfarin for 5 years now without problems, other than the occasional INR being a little too low or two high depending on diet and hydration.

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Hi Mary! Glad to see things are working with your Watchman so far!! I know you’re anxious for Oct 30 to come. You mentioned that there is no reversal to stop bleeding when you’re on Eliquis, and I’ve seen others mention it as well. But when I went to the ER last month with a life- threatening gastric bleed, they were able to give me something that reversed the Eliquis. And the bleeding stopped immediately. Of course by then I had already lost a lot of blood and had to have two blood transfusions that week. But whatever they gave me worked very well. I’ve been on Eliquis for a couple of years and had no problems with it. My bleeding was caused from an ulcer that broke open, and of course, as with any blood thinner, it was down hill from there!! I’m on my long path now to get approved for the Watchman. My Electrophysiologist has already said I was a candidate – I just have to get approval from my cardiologist and my gastric doctor. Ugh!!! I hate the waiting.

I’m keeping you in my thoughts and prayers that all will continue to go well for you.

Billie

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@gr82balive

To me the only drawback with being on warfarin, is the monitoring INR levels, is what the other products advertise as being their advantage. A possible down-side to the newer products is that unlike warfarin, there isn’t an antidote to reverse their effect in an emergency. I’m not sure if this is actually true, but certainly something to ask your healthcare professional about. I’ve been on warfarin for 5 years now without problems, other than the occasional INR being a little too low or two high depending on diet and hydration.

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Hi Billie,

Thanks for sharing the information about the reversal for Eliquis….that’s really good to know. If all goes well, I can discontinue the Eliquis in a few weeks.

My process was: cardiologist – initial TEE – electrophysiologist – GI doctor – colonoscopy and EGD – two weeks of warfarin – implant.
That took 15 weeks total, however the time went fast and before I knew it I was checking in the hospital. I will pray that your approvals and wait time move along seamlessly. Also, while on the Watchman website, I requested additional information and was contacted by an advisor that answered questions, mailed out additional information, gave me her contact number and stayed in touch with me throughout my journey.

Know that I will cheerlead for you and keep you in my prayers. If you have any questions, please post or private email me. I am interested in your progress as you travel through the process.

Regards,
Mary

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@gr82balive

To me the only drawback with being on warfarin, is the monitoring INR levels, is what the other products advertise as being their advantage. A possible down-side to the newer products is that unlike warfarin, there isn’t an antidote to reverse their effect in an emergency. I’m not sure if this is actually true, but certainly something to ask your healthcare professional about. I’ve been on warfarin for 5 years now without problems, other than the occasional INR being a little too low or two high depending on diet and hydration.

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Welcome to the Heart & Blood Health group on Connect, @kibwezi. We have some really informative discussions regarding pros and cons Xarelto that might interest you too:

– Pros and cons of Xarelto https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/pros-and-cons-of-xarelto/?utm_campaign=search
– Xarelto https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/xarelto/?pg=3#comment-64158

@kibwezi, could you share a few more details about yourself? When were you diagnosed? Are you taking Xarelto for atrial fibrillation?

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@gr82balive

To me the only drawback with being on warfarin, is the monitoring INR levels, is what the other products advertise as being their advantage. A possible down-side to the newer products is that unlike warfarin, there isn’t an antidote to reverse their effect in an emergency. I’m not sure if this is actually true, but certainly something to ask your healthcare professional about. I’ve been on warfarin for 5 years now without problems, other than the occasional INR being a little too low or two high depending on diet and hydration.

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Hi Billie,

I saw the electrophysiologist on the 17th and we mainly went over the procedure, recovery and what is down the road. The next TEE is scheduled for 10/30. At that time, if all looks well, I will discontinue the Eliquis and aspirin and instead go on Plavix for about 6 months.
After the 6 months of Plavix, I will forever be on low dose aspirin.

How are you doing? Have you made any progress with securing approvals for your implant?

Mary

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Good to hear from you Mary!

And so glad everything went well at the Electrophysiologist visit. I know you’re excited about the TEE on the 30th. I’ve got it marked on my calendar and will be thinking of you that day!

I ‘think’ I had a minor setback yesterday. I’ve been doing pretty good on my recovery from the gastric bleed and slowly getting stronger. I had a visit with my cardiologist yesterday morning. I had been looking so forward to that visit, because it was to get me started doing whatever he needed me to do to prepare for the Watchman. However, right before I got to his office, I started feeling light headed, was dizzy, nauseated, disoriented, etc. They took me right back into his office from the waiting room, where my BP was 82/54. He came right in, said I looked like I was having some type of problem and had me taken to the ER. I was there until 8:30 last night. They gave me fluids, monitored me, ran tests and changed some of my Meds. They also found out that my heart rate had spiked to 181 while I was at the doctor’s office. Diagnosis was that it as an aFib event. I usually am in aFib and don’t even know it. I guess there’s a first for everything!!

Before I left my doctor’s office, I told him I wanted to talk to him about the Watchman, etc. He said, we’ll talk later. Anyway, the good part of the whole ordeal yesterday, was that my Electrophysiologist came to see me in the ER, and said he’d work with the Cardiologist to get things rolling. So, we’ll see!! I see my gastric doctor next Tuesday to get her approval. So, I guess, we’re still working toward it – just not in the structured way I wanted it to happen!

I’m feeling okay today. So hopefully, yesterday won’t set me back too bad.

Take care!

Billie

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@bergordon

Good to hear from you Mary!

And so glad everything went well at the Electrophysiologist visit. I know you’re excited about the TEE on the 30th. I’ve got it marked on my calendar and will be thinking of you that day!

I ‘think’ I had a minor setback yesterday. I’ve been doing pretty good on my recovery from the gastric bleed and slowly getting stronger. I had a visit with my cardiologist yesterday morning. I had been looking so forward to that visit, because it was to get me started doing whatever he needed me to do to prepare for the Watchman. However, right before I got to his office, I started feeling light headed, was dizzy, nauseated, disoriented, etc. They took me right back into his office from the waiting room, where my BP was 82/54. He came right in, said I looked like I was having some type of problem and had me taken to the ER. I was there until 8:30 last night. They gave me fluids, monitored me, ran tests and changed some of my Meds. They also found out that my heart rate had spiked to 181 while I was at the doctor’s office. Diagnosis was that it as an aFib event. I usually am in aFib and don’t even know it. I guess there’s a first for everything!!

Before I left my doctor’s office, I told him I wanted to talk to him about the Watchman, etc. He said, we’ll talk later. Anyway, the good part of the whole ordeal yesterday, was that my Electrophysiologist came to see me in the ER, and said he’d work with the Cardiologist to get things rolling. So, we’ll see!! I see my gastric doctor next Tuesday to get her approval. So, I guess, we’re still working toward it – just not in the structured way I wanted it to happen!

I’m feeling okay today. So hopefully, yesterday won’t set me back too bad.

Take care!

Billie

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Hi Billie,

Sorry to hear about your recent aFib event but you couldn’t have been in a better place at the time it happened. I’m hoping that this is a rare occurrence for you and that you will continue to heal without further incidents.

Have you ever been cardioverted? Thirteen years ago my cardiologist tried a cardioversion on me but it didn’t work. I use to go in and out of aFib but I’ve been in chronic aFib for about ten years now. I’ve never felt the palpations or irregular heartbeats, but I have known others with aFib and they have shared their stories of fearing a heart attack or panicking from the intense palpations.

I’m happy to hear that you are feeling okay today. Hang in there….I’m a firm believer that if something is meant to be, it will happen in the right time.

Stay Prayerful,

Mary

“A setback is simply a setup for a comeback.”

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