Saint Thomas Health > Heart > Arrhythmia > WATCHMAN™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device

WATCHMAN™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device

The WATCHMAN™ left atrial appendage closure device offers a new stroke risk reduction option for patients with atrial fibrillation who are seeking an alternative to long-term warfarin therapy. On April 2, 2015, Saint Thomas Heart cardiologist, Dr. Robert "Drew" Pickett performed the first WATCHMAN™ implant in the state of Tennessee.

Atrial fibrillation is a common irregular heart rhythm which can allow blood clots to form in the heart, especially the left atrial appendage (a normal pouch attached to the left upper chamber of the heart). People with atrial fibrillation are 5 to 7 times more likely to have a stroke than the general population. In 90% of these people, the source of the stroke is from a blood clot that formed in the left atrial appendage and was dislodged to the brain.

The WATCHMAN™ device is designed to close the left atrial appendage and keep blood clots from leaving the left atrial appendage. The WATCHMAN™ device is shaped like a jellyfish, and is a self-expanding device made from nitinol (nickel-titanium alloy). The top of the device is covered with a permeable polyester fabric that acts like a filter initially but becomes covered with a patient's own cells within 45 days. There are tines on the outside of the device that act to stabilize and hold it in place.

For more information about the WATCHMAN™ implant as well as to determine if you are a candidate for this type of therapy, please call Saint Thomas Heart at 615.329.5144.