Center for Heart & Vascular Health

WATCHMAN™ - Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Treatment with Left Atrial Appendage Closure/LAAC

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation (AFib), also called arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, affects millions of people. AFib affects your heart’s ability to pump blood normally.

Why Am I at Increased Risk of Stroke?

People with AFib have a higher risk of stroke because the heart’s upper chambers cannot push the blood through normally. Blood can pool inside the left atrial appendage or LAA, a small sac in the muscle wall of the top left chamber of the heart. If this happens, cells may stick together to form a clot. The clot may move out of the LAA and travel to other areas of the body, such as the brain, causing a stroke.

What Are My Treatment Options?


If you have nonvalvular AFib, your doctor may have prescribed a blood thinner to reduce your risk of stroke. This is the traditional treatment method to prevent blood clots from forming. If you are having trouble tolerating a blood thinner or you are at risk of bleeding complications, it may be time to think about other options. The Structural Heart Disease Program at Christiana Care has a team of dedicated physicians who can tell you if you are a good candidate for left atrial appendage closure with the WATCHMAN™ device to reduce the risk of stroke and improve your quality of life.

Watchman™ Procedures at Christiana Care

If you have nonvalvular AFib, your doctor may have prescribed a blood thinner to reduce your risk of stroke. This is the traditional treatment method to prevent blood clots from forming. If you are having trouble tolerating a blood thinner or you are at risk of bleeding complications, it may be time to think about other options. The Structural Heart Program at Christiana Care has a team of dedicated physicians who can tell you if you are a good candidate for left atrial appendage closure with the WATCHMAN™ device to reduce the risk of stroke and improve your quality of life.

Our WATCHMAN Team
Our WATCHMAN Team

LAAC Procedures at Christiana Care

Christiana Care is the only health system in Delaware performing left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) procedures. Our team of highly skilled interventional cardiologists and electrophysiologists use the WATCHMAN™ device as an alternative stroke risk prevention method. Since the device’s approval by the FDA in 2015, our heart team has implanted more than 100 WATCHMANTM devices, and over 97% of patients have been able to come off of their blood thinner after this procedure, which surpasses the success rate of 92% shown in clinical trials.

About the WATCHMAN™ Device

Physicians use the WATCHMAN™ device to close off the LAA and reduce the risk of stroke. The WATCHMAN™ device is approved for those who have been diagnosed with nonvalvular AFib and who are:

  • At an increased risk of having a stroke from AFib.
  • Approved for short-term use of a blood thinner post-procedure.
  • Unable to take long-term oral blood thinners.

The WATCHMAN™ Procedure


The WATCHMAN™ device is an FDA-approved permanent implant that is parachute shaped and about the size of a quarter. The device is implanted into your LAA and is designed to permanently close this appendage off so blood clots cannot escape.

To implant the WATCHMAN™ device, you will be put to sleep under anesthesia. Your physician will make a small incision in your leg and thread a catheter (thin, flexible tube) through an artery to your heart and into the LAA. The procedure lasts about two hours; you then will be moved to the recovery area. Typically, patients are in the hospital for one day and then discharged to home. After you go home, our team will continue to monitor you with regular follow-up appointments to make sure your recovery goes well.

Christiana Care Structural Heart Program
Christiana Hospital
4755 Ogletown-Stanton Road, Newark, DE 19718 directions
302-733-1507
structuralheartcoordinators@christianacare.org