A watchman placement device is a small, tube-like device covered in fabric that is placed into the opening of the left atrium (upper chamber) of the heart, or what’s called the left atrial appendage. The purpose of placing this device is to prevent blood clots from entering the brain or heart, which could lead to a stroke. The watchman device remains permanently in this area of the heart.
A watchman placement device is typically used for people who have atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular heart rhythm that is not caused by a heart valve problem, or AFib. It is a good alternative to the long-term use of blood-thinning medications.
Let’s talk about what recovery is like from a watchman device placement procedure.
Watchman Device Placement Surgery
First, you need to know what the process is like for placing the watchman device. Doctors can use minimally invasive techniques to perform the surgery, which shortens the recovery period.
General anesthesia is used for this procedure. The watchman device is guided all the way up into the heart starting from an incision in the femoral vein, which is located in the upper leg. Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), which is a medical imaging technique, is typically used to ensure the accuracy of the placement of the watchman device. The watchman device passes through a catheter, and once in place, opens up like a parachute or umbrella. Then, the catheter is removed and stitches are used to close up the incision site. Watchman device placement surgery can take as little as 30 minutes to complete.
Recovery from Watchman Placement Procedure
After the surgery, you will be wheeled into the recovery room and be under observation until you wake up from the anesthesia. If you have a watchman placement device, your doctor will likely recommend that you stay in the hospital for at least one night, so hospital staff can monitor your vitals and pain levels.
After a watchman device placement procedure, your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for your device, what signs to look out for, and what activities to avoid. Severe pain, increasing discomfort, and bleeding are signs of complications.
You will need to take blood thinners for several weeks after the procedure while the heart tissue grows over the implant, and it becomes a part of your heart. You will also be prescribed pain medication to manage pain. After 45 days, 90 percent of patients are able to stop taking blood thinners.
Once you are released from the hospital, you will need to take it easy for a few weeks and avoid strenuous activities, such as heavy lifting. Your doctor will give you advice when it’s safe to resume normal activities.
Watchman Device Placement in Boca Raton, FL
The board-certified cardiologists at Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute are highly skilled and experienced in minimally invasive procedures of the heart and are trained in the latest techniques that help improve patient recovery and outcomes. Our compassionate physicians will ensure you receive detailed instructions and support for recovery. To consult about watchman placement surgery, schedule an appointment with us today. Call our clinic at (561) 235-5621 or use our online appointment request form.