Watchman Device: Hi, I am looking for advice... - AF Association

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Watchman Device

Pammy59
Pammy59

Hi, I am looking for advice. Just over a year ago I had a right lobar haemorrhage (bleed on the brain) leading to a stroke. Several months later I was diagnosed with hypertension and put on Amlodipine 5mg. This put my CHADS-VAS score to 4. In November I began getting chest pains and palpitations, so in January I had a 24 hour Holter monitor which confirmed I had. atrial fibrillation. I was first given Bisoprolol 5mg. This did not suit me so was put on Satolol. Again it did not suit so am now on Flecainide 50mg. I am feeling much better but still get chest pain but I can manage with that. Due to the bleed I am unable to go on any anticoagulants and have now had a chance to be part of clinical trial for a Watchman device to be fitted. Has anyone had it fitted or do you know anyone who has? I am scared and not sure if this is the right thing to do. Any advice please, will help.

24 Replies
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BobD
BobDVolunteer

If you are in UK then lucky you to be offered this chance. They have not been generally available on NHS and few centres have been using them so I highly recommend that you take this opportunity. Stroke risk in AF is five times the norm and with all you have to put up with a stroke is not what you want to risk. .

Pammy59
Pammy59
in reply to BobD

Thank you BodD. Yes I am in the UK. Unfortunately it is not available under the NHS and having had a stroke, I certainly don’t want another one. I am still recovering from the last one. That is why I have been given a chance to take part in this trial. However, I am nervous about it.

Hi Pammy :-) I saw a recent article and video about 'Watchman ' the other day here is a link ..

wndu.com/content/news/Watch...

Pammy59
Pammy59
in reply to doodle68

Thank you doodle68, Yes found the link very interesting.

As such a high proportion of AF related strokes are from clots formed in the LAA- where they put the watchman device- I would definitely have this, despite any risks- if I couldn't be anti coagulated and had already had a stroke I haven't heard anyone saying they had problems but of course there are risks with all procedures.My friend, who is a consultant paediatrician, organised for her mother to have it as her INR was so unstable and it has been fine

Pammy59
Pammy59
in reply to rosyG

Thank you RosyG, not sure if you received my last reply. I cannot see it so assume it was deleted. Anyway thank you all for your reply, I feel much more calmer about the procedure. I may not get picked for the device and will only know when I have been brought round from the anaesthetic. I have a 2/3 chance of being selected. Apparently the funding was cut for this device from the NHS, so the need to do this trial is to help reinstate the funding. Thanks!

Hi Pammy, I was put forward for a Watchman device last year on the NHS due to several brain cavernomas and AF so unable to take anticoagulants. I've been on flecainide for 10yrs since diagnosed which works well for me.

I went into St Bart's in March this year feeling very nervous but need not have worried as the whole procedure went well and I came out the next day with a small groin incision and a brand new Amplatzer amulet device which does exactly the same job and was a better fit due to coming in more sizes.

Feel free to pm me if you want any more info as I'm sure most people are tired of hearing about my op!

Pammy59
Pammy59
in reply to Angie06

Thank you so much, it is so good to hear from someone who has had the Watchman device fitted. I can only hope that I am one of the 3 who gets it fitted. I will not know until I am brought round from the anaesthetic if it has been fitted. One positive thing is that I will be still closely monitored for 5 years. The nurse I saw said they are hoping that this Watchman device will be available on the NHS again in the next 12 months. Thanks again.

Angie06
Angie06
in reply to Pammy59

Yes I've also heard that it may be available next year. Good luck! 😀

Pammy59
Pammy59
in reply to Angie06

Thank you.

I’m sure you will have seen Irina1975’s recent post......

Pammy59
Pammy59
in reply to FlapJack

Yes I have tried to gather as much information about this device as possible. I read a negative article online the other day which scared me so much I was going to withdraw from the trial. I am so glad I got up enough courage to ask for advice on this forum. Having read everyone’s response on here has really put me at ease now. Thank you!

Hidden
Hidden
in reply to Pammy59

Hi Pammy. Sent you a post further down but want to know if I can PM you. Just want to add getting off the anticoagulants is the best thing I've done for myself recently. Will PM as soon as you agree. Take care. irina1975 (I am 74, in the US, am in permanent afib, and had a pacemaker and ablation in 2016. Take no cardiac meds now.)

seasider18
seasider18
in reply to Pammy59

If you use Google Alerts you can put in Watchman or any other subject that interests you and get an E-Mail list when there are articles about them.

google.co.uk/alerts

seasider18
seasider18
in reply to Pammy59

Post procedure you need to take a blood thinning drug (Sorry Bob). My consultant had me on Plavix for a month and an enteric coated aspirin for six months. They all have different policies on this for some reason and some insist on Warfarin for six months.

Pammy59
Pammy59
in reply to seasider18

Yes your right seasider18. If the Watchman had been implanted then it would have been three to six months of OAC or anti platelets therapy. I was given these on the day of the procedure but nothing before that. Although, it all happened very quickly. I was asked to take part in the trail only two weeks prior to the procedure. This was good in some respects as it gave me little time to get anxious or stress about it but enough time to gather as much information as possible about the Watchman. Plus talk to family and friends.

Hidden
Hidden
in reply to FlapJack

Will send Pammy59 a PM. Thanks for sharing my info to help her. xx irina PS The champagne was great!

Hi Pammy59, I had the Watchman device fitted in 2016 for similar reasons to yourself. I had a bleed on the brain causing a stroke so could not take anti coagulants. It was carried out under a general anesthetic, so I didn't know anything about it. After the event, I had no pain or any other strange feelings! Now, I don't take any anticoagulants, so I can shave my legs safely without the fear of it looking like something from a horror movie!

Indeed, you are very lucky to have been offered this proceedure on the NHS as my consultant told me last year, that all funding had been stopped for this proceedure. I wish you every luck in whatever you decide to do and afterwards if you do go ahead with it. Please keep us informed.

Regards and best wishes, Sharon

You might want to inquire if the Lariat Procedure is available as an alternative to the Watchman. Here is a link that describes that procedure:

sentreheart.com/ouspatient/...

While both the Lariat and Watchman procedures appear to be highly effective, the Lariat is a newer procedure which does not require implanting a device inside the heart.

Hidden
Hidden

Hi, Pammy. I had the Watchman in January and just finished my post op weaning process. You might want to check my thread from yesterday Post op watchman device protocol-done. I would love to share info and answer any questions. May I PM you? This is only because so many on this forum have stayed with me and my posts thru my procedure from start to finish (6 months) I don't want to bore anyone to tears with an open post. I'm doing very weii and will do what I can to help you go thru this if you choose with the least amount of stress possible. Take care. irina1975 Send to Pammy59

Hi. Getting the watchman Sept 26. Had 2 previous bleeds on eliquis. One gastro and one cranial. Worried as I have to be on Coumadin for ,6 weeks after.

Hi jancam1, I must admit that was my concern but I am sure you will be closely monitored. Unfortunately I was not selected to get the Watchman device on the trial I took part in. However I do wish you all the best.

Pammy, after two eight day hospitalizations for blood clots in the Atrial appendage (found during a TEE), my cardio/electrophysiologist implanted the Watchman. I had a TEE six weeks following and it was sitting well. It has been four months and (after three ablations) I am still experiencing the AFIB periodically but the Watchman has greatly reduced my anxiety over a possible stroke. I am grateful that UPMC is a pioneer in this effort. I have had no side effects. (Pittsburgh)

Hi shrinkage, that is so reassuring. I am in the UK and have be on a Watchman trial for the last year and am due for my next review on Monday. I did not have the device fitted as I was the unlucky one who did not get selected to have the device but was still part of the trial. This week my GP received a letter from my heart specialist, saying that the Watchman device is again available on the NHS. So I am expecting to fine out more next week. Good luck.

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