After Your WATCHMAN™ Implant Procedure
You can find some general tips for recovering from a WATCHMAN Implant procedure below. But be sure to follow your doctor’s post-operative instructions and recommendations for resuming normal activities based on your heart condition and specific situation.
After WATCHMAN is implanted, you will rest in the hospital where you will be monitored during your recovery. Patients commonly stay in the hospital overnight and leave the next day. Your doctor will determine how long you need to be in the hospital. It’s important to keep all follow-up visits as instructed by your doctor.
45 Days After Your Implant
Your doctor will instruct you to take warfarin and aspirin after your procedure. After your WATCHMAN Implant has been in place for a minimum of 45 days, your doctor will take pictures of your heart using a test called a TEE (transesophageal echocardiogram) to determine if the implant has closed the opening of your left atrial appendage (LAA). Your doctor may stop your warfarin medication at that time, depending on the result of this test. If your doctor chooses to stop your warfarin, he/she will prescribe a new blood thinning medication called clopidogrel (Plavix®) until 6 months after your implant procedure, and your ongoing aspirin dose may increase.
If the TEE that is performed at around 45 days shows that the opening of the LAA is not adequately closed, another TEE may be scheduled at around 6 months to re-evaluate whether adequate closure has occurred.
12 Months After Your Implant
About 12 months after your WATCHMAN Implant, your doctor may schedule another TEE to check on the device and make sure that your LAA is sealed.
WATCHMAN Device Implant Card
You will be given a WATCHMAN Implant Card at the hospital that performs your procedure. Whether you’re running a quick errand or going on vacation, it’s important to carry the card with you at all times. In an emergency, it will let medical personnel know you have a WATCHMAN Implant.
When to Call Your Doctor
Your healthcare team will provide specific guidelines for when you should contact them. But be sure to call your doctor right away if you:
- Have any pain
- Experience any side effects from your medication, including bleeding, headaches, nausea, vomiting or rash
- Miss taking or change the dosage of your medication
- Make any lifestyle changes