Heart disease is known to be the leading cause of death worldwide. There are several clinical procedures to reduce the risk of heart disease. One of the recent interventions to reduce the risk of stroke in patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF) is Watchman surgery. This surgical procedure is an innovative way to combat heart disease and its related complications. This blog will discuss what Watchman surgery is and how it works.
Watchman surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that can reduce the risk of stroke or systemic embolism among people with non-valvular AF. AF occurs when the heart’s rhythm is irregular, leading to pooling and formation of blood clots in the atria of the heart. These blood clots can break loose and travel to the brain, causing a stroke. Watchman surgery works by closing off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA), where blood clots commonly form. The implantation of Watchman device can reduce the likelihood of blood clots forming in the LAA, thereby reducing the risk of stroke.
The procedure for Watchman surgery is done by a cardiologist and a cardiac surgeon under general anesthesia. The surgeon inserts a catheter through a leg vein, directing it to the LAA. A delivery sheath is then inserted through the catheter to position the Watchman device around the LAA. The device is then deployed by unsheathing it, which works like an umbrella fabric. Over time, heart tissue grows over the device, covering and sealing off the LAA.
Watchman surgery is an alternative to blood-thinning medications like warfarin for people with non-valvular AF. The prolonged use of these blood-thinning medications can increase the risk of bleeding disorders in patients. Watchman surgery provides an innovative and long-term solution to reduce the risk of stroke in patients diagnosed with AF.
After the Watchman surgery, the patient’s medical team will monitor their progress and recovery. The patient may have to take blood thinners for a brief period after the procedure, continue any pre-existing medications and attend follow-up appointments. In most cases, patients can resume their regular activities after a few days post-surgery.
Conclusion: Watchman surgery is an excellent alternative to long-term blood-thinning medications for patients diagnosed with AF. This surgical intervention provides a long-term and cost-effective option for patients who are at high risk of stroke and need an alternative to traditional medication. The delivery of Watchman technology is a significant milestone in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. If you are interested in this innovative surgical intervention, talk to your doctor to see if you are a candidate. As with any surgical intervention, understanding the risks and benefits of the surgery is essential before making an informed decision.