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Watchman Procedure

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University Health Heart & Vascular Institute 
210-64-HEART (3278)

Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program 

Watchman Procedure

Atrial Fibrillation & Stroke Prevention with Watchman

Atrial fibrillation (A.Fib) is a common but serious heart condition. With this condition, your heart beats either too fast or too slow. These irregular heartbeats make it difficult for your heart’s chambers to work together. This condition can produce dangerous blood clots that can lead to stroke, and mean a lifetime of blood thinners. It can also mean a lifetime of worry about issues like bleeds and falls.

One-Time Heart Procedure

Left atrial appendage occlusion with Watchman is a one-time, minimally invasive procedure for people with atrial fibrillation who need an alternative to blood thinners. San Antonio cardiologists at the Heart and Vascular Institute perform this minimally invasive, nonsurgical treatment to close off the heart’s left atrial appendage where blood clots frequently start.

This can significantly reduce your risk of stroke, and a few weeks after the procedure, you may be able to stop taking blood thinners. Many people have left blood thinners behind with Watchman.

Watchman Procedure

Watchman is implanted into your heart in a one-time procedure. It’s a permanent device that doesn’t have to be replaced and can’t be seen outside the body.

To implant Watchman, we will insert a narrow tube in the vein in the groin. Then we guide the Watchman into the left atrial appendage (LAA) of your heart. The procedure is done under general anesthesia and takes about an hour. Patients usually stay in the hospital overnight and leave the next day.

Benefits of Watchman

  • The procedure minimally invasive and not surgical.
  • There is very little discomfort during or after the procedure.
  • The recovery time is shorter, and there is less risk of complication than with open-heart surgery.
  • Patients do not need repeated doctor visits or blood tests compared to patients on blood thinners.
  • The procedure is a permanent, one-time solution.
  • The procedure may help decrease the risk of stroke without affecting the rest of your heart.

Watchman Procedure Recovery

Following the Watchman procedure, you will take blood thinners for 45 days or until your LAA is permanently closed off. During this time, heart tissue will grow over the implant to form a barrier against blood clots. We will monitor this process by taking pictures of your heart to see when you can stop taking your blood thinner.

Schedule an Appointment for a Watchman Consult

Would you like to speak to our experts about the Watchman procedure?
Phone: 210-450-4888 and 210-450-9266

To refer a patient, please contact our coordinator. 
Phone: 210-450-9266
Fax: 210-450-6018

  1. Christina Lopez, MD
  2. Jeffrey Martinez, MD
    Vascular Surgery
  3. Lyssa Ochoa, MD
    Vascular Surgery