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

Hi I had the watchman implanted one year ago. I have had no problems since and am glad I no longer need blood thinners , other than a baby aspirin s day. This is a good feeling after suffering a gastro internal bleed and a brain bleed while on blood thinnrr.

REPLY

I am waiting for AMPLATZER™ Amulet to get the FDA approval.

I have been in AFib since 2009 even with 3 ablations, numerous cardio versions and numerous drugs. I had 6 day hospital stay after stomach bleed in 2016. I was given 6 units of blood because I was on XARELTO at the time and they could not stop the bleed. I have had at least 2 DVT's both before the stomach bleed. I am on Warfarin since that time 2016 since it can be reversed. My EP implanted a Pacemaker in 2017 which helps with the symptoms but I remain in AFib or flutter almost constantly.

My LAA was not shaped correctly for the Watchman implant (chicken leg/wing) so that means Amulet is my only hope. From what I can find online it is a long way off. Anyone out there have any current info on Amulet.

Thank you

REPLY
@rmwundrow

I am waiting for AMPLATZER™ Amulet to get the FDA approval.

I have been in AFib since 2009 even with 3 ablations, numerous cardio versions and numerous drugs. I had 6 day hospital stay after stomach bleed in 2016. I was given 6 units of blood because I was on XARELTO at the time and they could not stop the bleed. I have had at least 2 DVT's both before the stomach bleed. I am on Warfarin since that time 2016 since it can be reversed. My EP implanted a Pacemaker in 2017 which helps with the symptoms but I remain in AFib or flutter almost constantly.

My LAA was not shaped correctly for the Watchman implant (chicken leg/wing) so that means Amulet is my only hope. From what I can find online it is a long way off. Anyone out there have any current info on Amulet.

Thank you

Jump to this post

I also have been on blood thinners, have had a number of cardioversions and had two ablations and have had bleeding problems. I am to have a Watchaman done next month. A cardiologist nurse told me of a procedure whereby a complete ablation is done (like eliminating all heart beats originating from the heart) this can't be reversed however) and going with a pace maker. She fell well short of recommending the procedure. I don't know the actual name of the procedure. Does anyone know anything about it?

REPLY

I am in the same situation. I have the watchman but am considering the av node ablation with pacemaker has anyone experienced this?

REPLY

I am considering getting the watchman implant. Any reason not to proceed?

REPLY

I had a Watchman implant put in two weeks ago. The surgery was an easy surgery. There are a few restriction after surgery for a week or two but not bad ones. I researched and talked with as many people as possible to find out all I could from people with experience/who had Watchman Implants and did not have one person say anything negative about it. I had the surgery with no reservations. Good luck!

REPLY

I just had the device implanted the 14th of November so i'm a newbie with it. I go back January 2nd for the follow up (TEE). Only thing ive noticed is a slight increase in my shortness of breath. I had that long before the procedure inasmuch as i smoked for 50 years but after a series of Pulmonary tests just two months ago, there was no sign of COPD.

REPLY

Had watchman implanted1 1/2 years ago. So glad no blood thinners other than baby aspirin. Short of breath but also smoked for 30 years. Think it's the atrial fib causing it.

REPLY

Have you been told the A=Fib, post Watchman implant, might make shortness of breath a little more noticeable ?

REPLY

No I was not told this. Is this something you were told?

REPLY

I was not told this by my Cardiologist but, in doing some research, i read it somewhere that some shortness of breath might be noticed.

REPLY
@kibwezi

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.

Jump to this post

Ive been taking Warafin for about 2 years now and cost-wise, its much more affordable than Elequis or Xarelto. As mentioned in another post, the down side is the frequent blood check. But i had the Watchman device implanted on October 14th . I go back for the TEE January 2nd, 2020. Hopefully things will be good and i'll be able to come off Warafin . I've been told if things are ok, i'll go on one baby asprin daily and one plavix, daily.

REPLY
@ronva2co

Ive been taking Warafin for about 2 years now and cost-wise, its much more affordable than Elequis or Xarelto. As mentioned in another post, the down side is the frequent blood check. But i had the Watchman device implanted on October 14th . I go back for the TEE January 2nd, 2020. Hopefully things will be good and i'll be able to come off Warafin . I've been told if things are ok, i'll go on one baby asprin daily and one plavix, daily.

Jump to this post

Do you still have a Fib?

REPLY
@jimbotch

Do you still have a Fib?

Jump to this post

I do and its my understanding there is no "cure" to get rid of A-Fib. Its also my understanding that implanting the Watchman Device helps prevent strokes. Have you had or are you thinking about getting the Watchman ?

REPLY

I cured my A-fib! I didn't have 3 steady beats in a row, felt faint in waves, had to constantly gasp for air etc… The cardiologist said I was the worst case of atrial fibrillation he had ever seen. A very high dose of the beta blocker, Sotacor was required to steady my heart. The cardiologist told me to try to take less because at that dose my heart could stop! But when I tried to lower it even by a tiny bit, the A-fib would return as wild as ever. The Holter monitor even malfunctioned because there were just too many wild beats! lol I was on the high dose of beta blocker for a year and 9 months and was so fed up with the side effects. I did some research and read that exercise could steady an irregular heartbeat. I joined a gym and went 6 days out of 7 on the treadmill for 35 minutes and then strength training and stretches…and I did manage to get my dose of beta blocker down a bit without it flying out of rhythm. I then took a bit less…and a bit less all with no a-fib returning. At the end of the month, to my own shock and amazement, I was completely off the beta blockers. I guess I was strengthening my heart…which after all is a muscle. I went back to the cardiologist and told him that I cured my A-fib and he said, "Impossible!". He said it would be back but in the meantime to stay clear of any stimulants; coffee, alcohol, tea, chocolate, decongestants and cigarette smoke. I was VERY motivated because that 1 year and 9 months on heavy meds made me feel 90 years old…and I was only 48.
Fast forward to today at age 70 and I still do not drink coffee, alcohol etc…and my heart is as steady as a rock. I admit that on occasion I will be tempted to have a bit of coffee or a piece of chocolate cake, for example and my heart does skip a few beats. That's enough of a warning for me and I swear I won't tempt fate again because I do not ever want to go through what I did many years ago with atrial fibrillation.

Liked by ronva2co

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.