This video explains more about the benefits of LAA closure and describes what is involved in the procedure*
UW Medicine Regional Heart Center uses the Watchman device for left atrial appendage closure. The device is implanted in the left atrial appendage in a procedure that takes less than one hour in the catheterization lab under local or general anesthesia. Prior to its start, a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) is performed to ensure that there are no existing blood clots within your left atrial appendage, and to determine the appropriate device size and positioning.
A small puncture of less than one centimeter is made in your femoral vein in your groin (similar to a cardiac catheterization), and a catheter is advanced to your right atrium. Your cardiologist threads the Watchman device through the catheter to your left atrial appendage. Once confirming its appropriate placement, your cardiologist deploys the device, which opens up like an umbrella and implants. Once the device is positioned and anchored in place, your cardiologist confirms that the left atrial appendage is effectively sealed off from the rest of your heart.
Patients are discharged home and can resume normal activity the next day. Patients may need to take blood thinners after the procedure.
Over time, a thin layer of heart tissue grows over the Watchman device to permanently close off the left atrial appendage from the rest of your heart. After 45 days, your physician will take pictures of your heart using a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) to determine if the left atrial appendage has completely closed. Most patients may be able to stop taking blood thinners after 45 days following their procedure, although a small number of patients may need to continue anticoagulant therapy long term.
*Video is provided by Boston Scientific