Cardiovascular Integrated Physicians (CVIP) provides the following watchman service.
Left Atrial Appendage Closure (Watchman, Amulet)
Patients with atrial fibrillation (AFIB) have higher risks for stroke. This is because in AFIB, the atria cannot contract properly and therefore cannot pump blood sufficiently; blood then starts to pool within them, enabling formation of blood clots within the left atrial appendage, a small sac in the top left atrium of the heart. If resulting clots travel through the coronary arteries, they can cause strokes, so AFIB raises the patient’s risk of stroke. Accordingly, AFIB patients can benefit from taking blood thinners to lower their stroke risks. Blood thinners can cause side of effects such as bleeding. Some patients cannot tolerate blood thinners if they are predisposed to bleeding or had a bleeding event. Patients with poor balance or those with active lifestyle or high-risk occupations may be at risk of injury and serious bleeding with blood thinners. Some patients also experience side effects with various blood thinners.
Thus, a patient who has a contraindication to blood thinners may be a candidate for a left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) procedure. A left atrial appendage closure procedure is an alternative to blood thinners such as Warfarin (Coumadin), Xarelto, Eliquis, and Pradaxa to prevent stroke associated with atrial fibrillation. It is a minimally invasive procedure in which a permanent, plug-like implant is placed in the left atrium to close off the left atrial appendage, thereby reducing the chance of stroke by preventing accumulation of blood in a location where blood clots are likely to develop. This procedure requires catheter insertion in the groin vein, general anesthesia, and a one-night stay in the hospital. An example of an LAAC-sealing devices is the Watchman FLX Device, or Amulet devices.