What is the Watchman™ Procedure?
WATCHMAN™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) Device placement is a first-of-its-kind, proven alternative to long-term Warfarin (blood thinner) therapy to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AFib). The WATCHMAN™ can help free patients from a lifetime of blood thinner medication. In fact, long-term follow-up studies of patients who underwent this ground-breaking procedure showed the WATCHMAN™ device implantation offered a similar stroke risk reduction and superior reductions of hemorrhagic stroke, disabling stroke and cardiovascular death compared to the blood-thinning medicine warfarin. Nearly all patients in the study were completely off Warfarin within a year.
Who is a Candidate for the Watchman™ Procedure?
Watchman™ is suitable only for people with an AFib diagnosis that isn’t caused by a heart valve problem.
What To Expect During the Watchman™ Procedure
The WATCHMAN™ is a tiny umbrella-shaped device that an interventional cardiologist or cardiac electrophysiologist permanently implants in the atrium of the heart. Using a catheter (similar to an IV) that enters the groin, the cardiologist threads it up into the heart and sets the Watchman in place so it permanently seals the opening of the atrium. The heart eventually covers it permanently with new tissue so there is no longer any place for a clot to form.
Patients receive general anesthesia during the hour-long procedure. Most patients stay in the hospital overnight for observation and return home the next day. Although full recovery time varies, patients generally return to normal life activities within a week.
Watchman™ Device Implant Locations
Hackensack Meridian Health offers patients this advanced option to prevent stroke at both of our academic medical centers, which are at the heart of a network of community hospitals that offer cardiovascular diagnosis, cardiac rehabilitation and follow-up services that bring expert care conveniently close to home.
Why Choose Hackensack Meridian Health for the Watchman Device
The Heart and Vascular Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center and Jersey Shore University Medical Center perform the second highest volume for installation of the WATCHMAN™ in New Jersey, with 122 procedures in 2020.
Hackensack Meridian Health has more top-ranked hospitals than any system in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report 2021. The hospitals are also ranked as High Performing in the U.S. in several areas of care, including Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair, Aortic Valve Surgery, Heart Bypass Surgery, Heart Failure and Heart Attack.
From prevention and diagnosis, through surgery and rehabilitation, we provide comprehensive heart care in a compassionate, friendly environment close to home.
"I’m so grateful for the WATCHMAN™ procedure. It removed my risk of blood clots and allowed me to stop taking blood thinners for good. I’m very happy. "- Gerald Dienst, Toms River, N.J.
The combination of expert surgeons, advanced technology and array of heart care services makes Hackensack Meridian Health a trusted choice for patients and families in New Jersey.