As a leader in providing exceptional care to patients managing atrial fibrillation, UNC Health Care now offers the Watchman Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) device. Watchman is a catheter-delivered heart implant that offers a new stroke risk reduction option for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. The risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking anticoagulants. With the Watchman device, UNC offers patients a proven alternative to long-term warfarin therapy.

For stroke prophylaxis in patients with atrial fibrillation who need an alternative to anti-coagulation:

  • A history of major bleeding
  • Blood loss anemia while on anticoagulants
  • Unable to tolerate anticoagulants
  • A history of falls, or a high risk of falls
  • Unable to maintain a stable INR or unable to comply with INR monitoring

Specific factors to be considered in patient selection:

  • Procedures are done under general anesthesia
  • Patients will require transesophageal echocardiography
  • Device implant anticoagulation regime:
    • Warfarin plus aspirin for 45 days
    • Clopidogrel and aspirin for 6 months
    • Aspirin indefinitely