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Heart and Vascular Programs


More than 90% come off blood thinners within 6 weeks of the procedure.

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.

LLAC Procedures at ChristianaCare

ChristianaCare was the first health system in Delaware to perform left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) procedures. 

Since the device’s approval by the FDA in 2015, our heart team has implanted more than 400 WATCHMAN™ devices. More than 90% of patients come off blood thinners within 6 weeks and almost all can stop them by 6 months, surpassing the success rate of 92% shown in clinical trials.

Our Team

Our team of highly skilled interventional cardiologists and electrophysiologists use the WATCHMAN™ device as an alternative stroke risk prevention method.

The Structural Heart Program at ChristianaCare 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.

Group photo of ChristianaCare WATCHMAN™ team

WATCHMAN™ Device and 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, therefore reducing the risk of stroke. 

Approved Use

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.
Procedure and After Care

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.

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This free cardiovascular risk assessment will take about 7 minutes to complete. At the end, you will receive personalized, strictly confidential information that will help you assess your current cardiovascular health status.
'We are deeply committed to eliminating disparities and achieving health equity in the communities we serve'

Contact Us

ChristianaCare Structural Heart Program

Christiana Hospital
4755 Ogletown-Stanton Road,
Newark, DE 19718