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

Watchman does not stop afib. Just prevents stroke without taking blood thinners other than a baby aspirin a day

REPLY
@afrobin

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.

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Wow! Some story! Bravo!

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Just a FYI, I see the mention in most all conversations here the loose term that " the watchman prevents blood clots" which is true, however IT DOES NOT HELP OR PREVENT BLOOD CLOTS IN THE REST OF YOUR BODY, ONLY IN YOUR HEART. just something to think about.

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now on the other hand, an aspirin will have an effect on the entire body

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@starfirey2k

Just a FYI, I see the mention in most all conversations here the loose term that " the watchman prevents blood clots" which is true, however IT DOES NOT HELP OR PREVENT BLOOD CLOTS IN THE REST OF YOUR BODY, ONLY IN YOUR HEART. just something to think about.

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True. The watchman has helped me as I was having bleeds from the blood thinners.

Liked by ronva2co

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@1943

Watchman does not stop afib. Just prevents stroke without taking blood thinners other than a baby aspirin a day

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I'll be taking one baby aspirin daily plus one Plavix daily.

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@afrobin

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.

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Hi @afrobin

Without treatment for the fast rate in AFib, the ability to be physically active is very much reduced and the heart muscle can get damaged over time. The main goal of moderate exercise in AFib patients is slowing down the heart. However, strenuous exercise has been shown to be a leading trigger for an afib attack.

For some people, AFib is an occasional problem, (paroxysmal AFib), and the heart can go back to a normal rhythm on its own or with medications. For others, AFib is permanent – once their heart is in AFib, it stays in AFib. But the most important factor, for AFib patients, is to understand the risk of stroke.
Therefore, it is very important to work with your healthcare provider to determine your treatment needs, and to understand your treatment options. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/atrial-fibrillation/why-atrial-fibrillation-af-or-afib-matters

Liked by ronva2co

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@kibwezi

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

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The cost of Xarelto makes me cringe. I've been on Warafin for about 3 years now. Implanted Watchman October 14th, 2019.

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@ronva2co

The cost of Xarelto makes me cringe. I've been on Warafin for about 3 years now. Implanted Watchman October 14th, 2019.

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How is the Watchman working out?

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