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An alternative treatment for atrial fibrillation

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Watchman procedure

AFib treatment that helps you say goodbye to blood thinners

Whether you’ve been newly diagnosed or you’ve lived with atrial fibrillation for years, there’s a minimally invasive treatment available to help manage your symptoms. 

What is atrial fibrillation?

AFib, or atrial fibrillation, is a common condition that causes your heart to beat irregularly (also known as an arrhythmia). As a result, blood may pool in your heart's upper chambers, also known as the left atrial appendage or LAA. Left untreated, AFib can increase your risk of stroke.

Symptoms of AFib can include:

  • Fluttering or rapid heartbeat (heart palpitations)
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath, especially during exercise
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Chest pain

There’s good news — AFib is manageable. In fact, many people treat AFib with blood thinners to prevent blood clots.

But if your AFib isn’t caused by a heart valve condition, you may be a candidate for an alternative treatment — and it means you can say goodbye to blood thinners. 

What is the Watchman device?

The Watchman is a small device which is implanted in the heart to prevent stroke resulting from atrial fibrillation.

During a minimally invasive procedure, your doctor will insert a thin tube through a vein in your leg. This tube is used to guide the Watchman device into your heart's left atrial appendage. Once placed, the device gently expands in the heart to stop blood from pooling, reducing your risk of stroke.

How to prepare for the Watchman procedure

Before you have the Watchman procedure, your doctor may perform a variety of tests to evaluate your heart. You may have blood work to see how well your kidneys are functioning. 

Your care team will answer any questions you have and walk you through the entire process, from preparation to recovery to post-surgical care.

What to expect after the Watchman procedure

After having your procedure, you’ll likely need to stay in the hospital for one night. You’ll recover in one of our hospital’s Cardiac Care Units, where your care team will closely monitor you.

Your doctor will determine when you can resume your everyday activities, such as exercise and work, which for most people is around a week after device implantation.

About 6 weeks after your procedure, your doctor may order a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE). During this test, your doctor will check the placement of your device.

Watchman procedure care at Geisinger

Our team is dedicated to providing innovative treatments and care centered around you. We offer:

  • The knowledge you need Your heart team includes specialists with years of training and experience. Their expertise has been honed by performing numerous heart surgeries every year. And their focus is on delivering the care best suited to your needs.
  • Excellent care where you live – With locations throughout central, northeast and south-central Pennsylvania, our experienced heart team provides consultations and comprehensive care. We offer leading-edge treatment options and tailored-to-you care backed by the expertise and innovation of a nationally recognized health system. 
  • Heart rhythm treatments – From complex, exclusive and minimally invasive surgery options to national clinical trials and genetic testing, our heart specialists are dedicated to offering innovative treatment options and personalized care in convenient locations, so you don’t have to travel far.
  • Women’s heart health specialists – Women hold a special place in our hearts. So much so, they’ve inspired our team of experts to pursue breakthroughs and research that will impact the future of women’s heart health.
  • Genetic testing and counseling programs – Special research programs, such as MyCode®, are only available at Geisinger. Participating in MyCode allows you to contribute to genetic research. By participating, some may receive information about their own genetic risks. Learn about MyCode.

Request a consultation

Ready to learn more about the Watchman procedure? Call us at 800-275-6401.

Treats these conditions

We use the Watchman procedure to reduce the risk of stroke for patients who have:

Request a consultation today

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