The average person with atrial fibrillation (also called AFib or AF) is five times more likely to have a stroke than someone with a regular heartbeat.1 That’s because AFib can decrease the heart’s pumping capacity by as much as 30%.2 Because blood isn’t pumped out of the heart normally, it’s easier for blood cells to stick together and form clots in an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA).2, 3 When a blood clot escapes from the LAA and travels to another part of the body, it can cut off the blood supply to the brain, causing a stroke.1, 4
In people with atrial fibrillation not caused by heart valve problems (the most common type of AFib), more than 90% of stroke-causing clots that come from the heart are formed in the LAA.3
Blood thinners, also called anticoagulants, are an effective way to lower the risk of stroke in people with atrial fibrillation not caused by heart valve problems.5 Common blood thinners include warfarin (also known as Coumadin®), Eliquis®, Pradaxa®, Xarelto® and Savaysa®.
But some people need an alternative to blood thinners, because they can increase the risk of bleeding.5 Some bleeding events are minor and easily treated, like a cut taking longer than normal to stop bleeding. In other cases, the bleeding can be life-threatening, such as when bleeding in the brain causes a stroke.
If you have a history of bleeding or a lifestyle, occupation or condition that puts you at risk for bleeding, your doctor may consider an alternative to blood thinners, such as the WATCHMAN FLX Implant.
If you or a loved one need an alternative to blood thinners for non-valvular atrial fibrillation, a onetime procedure to implant the WATCHMAN FLX™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) device may reduce stroke risk for a lifetime.
The WATCHMAN FLX implant is about the size of a quarter and made from very light and compact materials commonly used in many other medical implants.
WATCHMAN FLX effectively reduces the risk of stroke by permanently closing off the LAA to keep blood clots from escaping. WATCHMAN FLX can eliminate the bleeding risks and regular blood tests and food-and-drink restrictions that come with warfarin. In clinical trial, 96% of people were able to stop taking blood thinners just 45 days after the WATCHMAN FLX procedure.6
WATCHMAN FLX is implanted into your heart in a one-time procedure. 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 your heart’s LAA. The procedure is done under general anesthesia and takes about an hour. Patients commonly stay in the hospital overnight and leave the next day.
Marjorie had a hemorrhagic stroke while taking blood thinners and needed an alternative treatment to reduce her AFib stroke risk. See how WATCHMAN FLX gave her new hope.
When Billy became anemic and needed three units of blood transfused, it was time to explore an alternative to blood thinners for reducing his AFib stroke risk. See how the WATCHMAN FLX Implant helped this former pro football player stay active in his community.
WATCHMAN FLX is for people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem who need an alternative to warfarin. This website is intended to provide patients and caregivers with some information about the WATCHMAN FLX Implant. It may help prepare you for talking to your doctor about your options for reducing stroke risk.
The WATCHMAN FLX Device is a permanent implant designed to close the left atrial appendage in the heart in an effort to reduce the risk of stroke.
With all medical procedures there are risks associated with the implant procedure and the use of the device. The risks include but are not limited to accidental heart puncture, air embolism, allergic reaction, anemia, anesthesia risks, arrhythmias, AV (Arteriovenous) fistula, bleeding or throat pain from the TEE (Trans Esophageal Echo) probe, blood clot or air bubbles in the lungs or other organs, bruising at the catheter insertion site, clot formation on the WATCHMAN™ Closure Device, cranial bleed, excessive bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding, groin puncture bleed, hypotension, infection/pneumonia, pneumothorax, pulmonary edema, pulmonary vein obstruction, renal failure, stroke, thrombosis and transient ischemic attack. In rare cases death can occur.
Be sure to talk with your doctor so that you thoroughly understand all of the risks and benefits associated with the implantation of the WATCHMAN Device.