Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a common health condition that involves a rapid and irregular heart rhythm, also known as an arrhythmia. This condition can cause blood clots to develop in the heart. It also increases a person’s risk of heart failure, stroke, and dementia.

Strokes that are related to atrial fibrillation are regularly disabling or fatal, which is why taking steps to reduce the risk of stroke is so important among patients who suffer from this condition. An effective treatment strategy To reduce the risk of stroke for atrial fibrillation is Watchman LAA occlusion.  This is a left atrial appendage closure device that can effectively reduce the risk of stroke.

How Watchman LAA Occlusion Reduces Risk of Stroke

The Watchman LAA Occlusion device provides patients who suffer from atrial fibrillation an option to reduce the risk of stroke long term without the use of lifelong blood thinners (oral anticoagulation). Oral anticoagulation has proven to be effective on a long-term basis, however, some patients don’t tolerate it well, which means that bleeding complications may occur.

As for Watchman LAA Occlusion, this device is designed specifically to close off the left atrial appendage. Over 90% of all stroke-causing clots initially develop in the left atrial appendage but may eventually escape this area and reduce the amount of blood that reaches the brain. To understand just how beneficial the Watchman LAA Occlusion device can be once it’s implanted, many patients who have this device implanted are able to stop using blood thinners like warfarin after a period of 45 days following the implant procedure.

Designed for Maximum Efficacy

The Watchman LAA Occlusion device is around the size of a quarter and measures at anywhere from 20-35 millimeters. Keep in mind that the implant procedure is meant to be as minimally invasive as possible to keep discomfort at bay. The implant itself is typically successful because of its unique design. For instance, the device’s proximal face keeps the surface area at a minimum, which reduces the likelihood of thrombus formation following the procedure.

The device is also comprised of an intra-LAA design, which allows the left atrial appendage to be closed without damaging the upper pulmonary veins as well as the mitral valve. Another beneficial aspect of the Watchman design is the nitinol frame, which is meant to match the LAA anatomy. This design helps to lower the risk of embolization.

State-of-the-art Delivery System

This treatment is delivered to the left atrial appendage with a standard insertion tube and distal tip. The simplified and minimally invasive delivery system consists of a:

  • Flexible core wire
  • Tri-cut tip
  • Visualization aid
  • Pre-loaded delivery system

All of these components work together to facilitate quick and easy implantation.

Post-implant Statistics

Watchman LAA Occlusion has already proven to be highly effective at reducing a person’s risk of stroke, which is clear by the 98.5% implant success rate. A study of more than 1,000 individuals who received this treatment found a reduction by more than 50% in regards to disabling and fatal strokes as well as instances of major bleeding. This study took place over a five-year period.

Even though the Watchman LAA Occlusion device is a relatively modern treatment for those suffering from atrial fibrillation, it has already displayed strong results when it comes to substantially reducing a patient’s risk of stroke. If you have any questions about Watchman LAA Occlusion or would like to schedule an appointment, call Virginia Arrhythmia Consultants today at (804) 410-9749 to get started.