Any expierences with Watchman Implant for A-Fib?
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.
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Heart Rhythm Conditions Support Group.
Hi all, I trying to decide about getting the Watchman procedure done. I'm 77 and have been on Eliquis (low dose) for several years. Had a GI bleed the end of Nov. last year. The cardiologist agreed for me to go on half dose for now but they are concerned as I have high cholesterol and family history of strokes. Would like to hear from others what they did in a case like this.
My husband had the Watchman procedure in December, is off all blood thinners & doing well. He is 88 & had a pacemaker/defibrillator for over 20 years. He was falling & the doctors were concerned about excessive bleeding should he break a bone or have a concussion. Good luck!
@fdixon63, I think you will appreciate the comments in this discussion as well as the reply from @no1gaga
– Any experences with Watchman Implant for A-Fib? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/watchman-implant-for-a-fib/?commentsorder=newest#chv4-comment-stream-header
I was recently told by my cardiologist that according to my heart monitor results that I have AFib. I was put on Eliquis as they ran additional tests. I then developed an abnormal heart rate and was put on Amiodarone. All tests show normal and he is now suggesting a Watchman. My overall health is better than normal for age 81. What are the advantages and disadvantages for the Watchman?
I had a Watchman emplaced in January and they did esophageal echo scan in March and everything is fine. The procedure is done under general anesthesia, but did not require an overnight in the hospital.
I had an abdominal bleed in December. I’ve had a-fib, mitral valve repair about 24 years ago, took warfarin, had a ablation and now have a dual lead pacemaker. Because I have other chronic health problems, my diet was very limited and difficult to maintain. I am very happy to now be able green vegetables!
Thanks for the information. I would love to get off Eliquis, saving the expense and side effects. The only heart issue so far is AFib and an irregular heart beat. I have a stress test in 10 days followed with a summary meeting to discuss the watchman. What are the side effects of watchman?
Except for getting off the blood thinner and all that entails, the purpose of the Watchman is to prevent strokes, the other meds are not involved.
The Watchman is a small inert device. Once the “plug” [my word] is covered with new heart tissue, I haven’t noticed any side effects. I just assume it it’s doing it’s job!
The Watchman device is intended to close off your heart’s left atrial appendage and prevent pooled blood in the appendage from forming clots. If part of a formed clot in the appendage were to break free and travel through an artery to the brain it can cause a serious, if not fatal stroke.
The Watchman closes off the appendage, but it is not without risk. Clots have been shown to form on the outer surface of the Watchman and occasionally break free. It happened to a family member of mine who was at very high risk of falling and therefor uncontrolled bleeding from Eliquis. His doctor installed the Watchman and weaned him off of Eliquis after 3 months and he suffered a stroke within about another 30 days. Imaging tests revealed multiple clots formed on his Watchman device. It maybe rare but it’s a definite risk that you need to discuss with your cardiologist.
Like you, I also have AFIB and have had cardioversions and an ablation, but I prefer to stay on Eliquis. Eliquis also comes with risks. You and your doctor have to weigh out the risks of both to see what works for you. Be careful of the marketing hype that often comes with medical devices and medications. Every intervention and medication has its risks.
Invasive vs prophylaxis at 81, I think your voice is yours. Bless You