Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. From lifestyle modifications to medications and invasive procedures, there are numerous treatments available for heart disease. One such device that is commonly used to manage heart disease is the Watchman heart device. Watchman heart device is a small, implantable device that helps prevent stroke in people with atrial fibrillation (AFib), a heart condition that causes an irregular heartbeat. In this article, we will discuss the functionality of Watchman heart devices and how they help manage heart disease.
How Watchman heart devices work?
Watchman heart device is a small, umbrella-shaped structure that is implanted into the heart’s left atrial appendage – a small pouch attached to the top left chamber of the heart. The device is made of flexible materials and can expand and collapse to fit the shape of the appendage. Once implanted, the Watchman device acts as a barrier and prevents blood clots from forming in the left atrial appendage. Blood clots are a common complication of AFib and can cause a stroke if they travel to the brain.
How is the Watchman heart device implanted?
The procedure to implant Watchman heart devices is minimally invasive and is usually performed under local anesthesia. During the procedure, a thin tube called a catheter is inserted into a vein in the groin and guided towards the heart. The Watchman device is then advanced through the catheter and placed into the left atrial appendage. The catheter is then removed, and the Watchman device is left in place permanently.
Who is a candidate for Watchman heart devices?
Watchman heart devices are typically recommended for people with AFib who cannot take blood thinners or have a high risk of bleeding. Blood thinners such as warfarin are commonly used to prevent blood clots in people with AFib, but they can lead to an increased risk of bleeding. Watchman heart devices offer an alternative to blood thinners and can reduce the risk of stroke in people with AFib.
How effective are Watchman heart devices?
Studies have shown that Watchman heart devices are highly effective in preventing stroke in people with AFib. A clinical trial called the PROTECT AF trial found that Watchman heart devices reduced the risk of stroke by 38% compared to warfarin. Additionally, the PREVAIL trial found that Watchman heart devices were non-inferior to warfarin in preventing stroke.
What are the risks associated with Watchman heart devices?
As with any medical procedure, there are risks associated with the implantation of Watchman heart devices. The most common risks include bleeding, bruising, and infection at the site of insertion. Also, the implantation of the Watchman device can cause complications such as stroke, heart attack, or even death in rare cases. However, these risks are rare, and the benefits of the Watchman heart device often outweigh the risks.
Watchman heart devices are a powerful tool in the fight against heart disease. They offer an alternative to blood thinners and can reduce the risk of stroke in people with AFib. While the implantation of Watchman devices comes with some risks, they are generally safe and highly effective. If you or someone you know is at risk for stroke due to AFib, speak with your healthcare provider about the benefits of the Watchman heart device. They can give you more information about whether this device might be right for you.