What is the WATCHMAN?

The WATCHMAN FLX Left Atrial Appendage (LAAC) Device serves as a one-time alternative to blood thinners for stroke risk reduction in people with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF). Built on the WATCHMAN technology – the most studied and implanted LAAC device in the world – the next-generation WATCHMAN FLX device was designed to advance procedural performance and safety

while expanding the treatable patient population

How does the WATCHMAN FLX work?

AF affects the heart’s ability to pump blood normally, which can cause blood to pool in the heart’s left atrial appendage (LAA). There, blood cells can form a clot, and when a blood clot escapes and travels to another part of the body, it can cut off the blood supply to the brain – causing a stroke. In people with non-valvular AF, more than 90% of stroke-causing clots that come from the heart are formed in the LAA, so closing off this part of the heart is an effective way to reduce stroke risk. Implanted via a minimally invasive procedure, the WATCHMAN FLX device is designed to permanently close off the LAA, while allowing many patients to discontinue blood thinners and avoid the bleeding and lifestyle challenges associated with them. Key benefits of the new device include:

  • Advanced Safety:

    • New frame allows for optimal device engagement with the tissue for long-term stability and a faster, complete seal of the LAA

  • Enhanced Procedural Performance:

    • Fully rounded design offers physicians the ability to safely enter, and maneuver within, the LAA and to fully recapture, reposition and redeploy the device during the procedure

  • Expanded Treatable Patient Population:

    • Broader size range allows treatment of widest range of patient anatomies

What is the WATCHMAN FLX procedure?

WATCHMAN FLX is implanted into your heart in a one-time procedure. It’s a permanent device that doesn’t have to be replaced and can’t be seen outside the body.

To implant WATCHMAN FLX, your doctor makes a small cut in your upper leg and inserts a narrow tube, as done in a standard stent procedure. Your doctor then guides WATCHMAN FLX into the left atrial appendage (LAA) of your heart. The procedure is done under general anesthesia and takes about an hour. Patients commonly stay in the hospital overnight and leave the next day.

Due to the risk of having a medical procedure, patients should not be considered for WATCHMAN FLX if they are doing well and expect to continue doing well on blood thinners.

What happens after you get a WATCHMAN FLX?

Following the WATCHMAN FLX procedure, you’ll take warfarin (a common blood thinner) for 45 days or until your LAA is permanently closed off. During this time, heart tissue will grow over the implant to form a barrier against blood clots. Your doctor will monitor this process by taking pictures of your heart to see when you can stop taking warfarin. 

Your doctor will then prescribe a medicine called clopidogrel (also known as Plavix®) and aspirin for you to take for 6 months. After that, you’ll continue to take aspirin on an ongoing basis. A very small number of patients may need to keep taking blood thinners long term. 

In a clinical trial:

  • 92% of patients were able to stop taking warfarin just 45 days after the procedure

  • 99% of patients were able to stop taking warfarin within 1 year after the procedure




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