Jefferson University Hospitals

Watchman

Watchman device

The Watchman™ device is a novel, catheter-based treatment for some people with atrial fibrillation (AFib) as an alternative to the lifelong use of blood thinners.  

In healthy patients, the blood in the left atrium and left atrial appendage (the ear-shaped sac in the muscle wall of the left atrium) is squeezed out into the left ventricle of the heart. In patients with AFib, there is an increased risk for dangerous blood clots that can exit the heart during this natural process.

The Watchman™ implant closes off the left atrial appendage so that harmful blood clots will not form or enter the bloodstream. This reduces the risk of stroke and other complications.

This permanent heart implant reduces the risk of stroke without the risk of bleeding that can come with the long-term use of blood thinners. Watchman™ can also eliminate food and drink restrictions, and regular blood work that come with blood thinners.

Who is a Candidate for Watchman?

The Watchman device isn't for everybody. Research has shown that it can effectively reduce the risk for blood clots, otherwise known as thromboembolism, in patients who:

  • Have a history of major bleeding while taking an anticoagulation treatment
  • An increased risk for stroke and systemic embolism based on tests your doctor will perform
  • Rely on blood thinners
  • Those who show a true need for an alternative for blood thinners, based on a medical condition, occupation or lifestyle

What Does Watchman Involve?

The procedure typically takes about an hour under general anesthesia in the electrophysiological laboratory at our hospital in Center City, as part of the Structural Heart Program. 

Your surgeon will measure the left atrial appendage to determine which size the Watchman™ is right for you. Your doctor will make a small puncture in your upper leg and insert a narrow tube similar to a stent procedure. The Watchman™ device will be inserted into to the left atrial appendage. The procedure itself is painless – you will be fully asleep.

Recovery time is minimal. Most patients leave the next day. You will continue your blood thinner for roughly 45 days or until your left atrial appendage is fully closed from the procedure. Your doctor will monitor your recovery process and determine when you can stop taking your blood thinner, and/or other medications or restrictions. 

Make an Appointment

If you would like more information to determine if Watchman™ is appropriate for you, please call Rebecca Marcantuono CRNP, our heart valve coordinator, at 215-955-2918.

To schedule an appointment, please call 1-800-JEFF-NOW (1-800-533-3669) or