The Henry Ford Heart & Vascular Institute is among a few hospitals worldwide – and the first in Michigan – to offer the newly-approved WATCHMAN™ device.

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This nonsurgical procedure uses the only FDA-approved device of its kind to permanently close off extra tissue (left atrial appendage) in your heart.

The WATCHMAN™ device at Henry Ford: why choose us

Henry Ford experts implant the WATCHMAN™ device using a minimally-invasive procedure performed in our specialized labs. These labs feature special equipment that allow our doctors to test the electrical activity of your heart.

We make it easy for you to receive follow-up care from your doctors at home. We’ll continue to work with your doctor and alert your doctor to any special updates or adjustments that need to be made to your device. We regularly train doctors and nurses in rural areas who care for patients with the WATCHMAN™ device.

How the WATCHMAN™ works

The WATCHMAN™ is a self-expanding device that seals off the left atrial appendage. This prevents blood clots from entering the bloodstream and causing strokes. Here’s how it works:

  • The left atrial appendage, located in the top left chamber of your heart, fills with blood as it enters the heart.
  • In a normal heart, the left atrial appendage empties with each heartbeat.
  • In patients with an arrhythmia like atrial fibrillation, blood can pool leaving you at risk for dangerous blood clots and stroke.
  • Approximately 95 percent of strokes that occur due to blood clots in patients with heart arrhythmias are from clots that form in the left atrial appendage.
  • Many patients take blood-thinning medication to prevent clots and strokes from happening.
  • If you cannot take blood thinners, your doctor may recommend the WATCHMAN™ device.
  • In our specialized lab, your doctor will insert a catheter sheath (a plastic tube) into a vein near your groin.
  • Your doctor will guide the WATCHMAN™ device through this tube until it’s in place at the opening of your left atrial appendage.
  • The device expands and permanently seals off your left atrial appendage.
  • Depending on your condition, you can expect to recover in the hospital for a brief period of time or overnight.
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