Skip to Content

Watchman Implant - Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device

Cottage Heart & Vascular Center - Watchman Implant - Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device

New Alternative to Blood Thinners for Those with AFib

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is among the first hospitals in California to offer the Watchman implant for patients with atrial fibrillation who need an alternative to long-term blood thinning medication because of bleeding risks. Newly approved, Watchman is specifically for patients who have atrial fibrillation not related to heart valve disease.

Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a heart condition affecting millions of people, in which the upper chambers of the heart beat too fast and with irregular rhythm. AFib can cause blood to stick together and clot in the heart’s left atrial appendage. If those clots break loose, they can cause a stroke. An estimated 20 percent of all strokes occur in patients with AFib.

Minimally Invasive Procedure

Watchman Implant

The minimally invasive Watchman procedure seals off the left atrial appendage, which is a thumb-sized sack, so it no longer can cause problems. Within 45 days of a successful Watchman placement, most patients can stop taking the warfarin blood thinner.

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is the only location on the Central Coast and one of only a select number of locations nationwide to offer the Watchman implant. Cardiologists Dr. Brett Gidney and Dr. Joseph Aragon perform the procedure at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

“Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital has a long history of offering structural heart disease treatment, and that has paved the way for us to offer this new and groundbreaking Watchman procedure for patients,” said Dr. Aragon, director of the structural heart program and cardiac catheterization lab.

Cardiologists insert the compressed Watchman implant through a vein in the patient’s legs and, with guidance from real-time imaging, thread it through blood vessels to the heart where the implant is expanded to the size of a quarter to close off the left atrial appendage. It takes about 30 minutes to an hour to put the implant in. Patients spend one night in the hospital as a precaution and typically can return to their normal activities the next day.

The Watchman implant does not cure AFib, and it should not be placed in a patient whose AFib is related to heart valve disease.

“The Watchman Implant is for someone with atrial fibrillation who has decided with their doctor, using sound medical reasoning, that blood thinners are not a good long-term option,” said Dr. Gidney.

FDA Approval

Watchman received Food and Drug Administration approval in the United States in 2015 and has been approved in Europe since 2005. It has been implanted in more than 10,000 patients and is approved in more than 70 countries around the world.

Our Region's Choice for Advanced Heart Care

TAVR Procedure

TAVR, the first non-surgical replacement of the aortic valve in your heart

Cottage Heart & Vascular Center - TAVR

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) for appropriate patients with aortic valve stenosis who are not candidates for open surgery to replace their natural aortic valve.

In the past, the only way to replace this valve was through open-heart surgery. What differentiates TAVR from open-heart surgery is that a team of specialists places a collapsible aortic heart valve into the body via a catheter that is inserted through the leg, and threaded up to the heart. This breakthrough technology means a surgical incision through the chest is not needed.

Learn About TAVR

'Absorb' Heart Stents

The world's first FDA-approved dissolving heart stent

Cottage Heart & Vascular Center - Absorb Dissolving Heart Stent

The interventional cardiology team at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital recently became the only California hospital north of Los Angeles and the second in the state to offer patients with coronary artery disease an advanced, first-of-its-kind treatment option.

In July 2016, Dr. Joseph Aragon, director of the Cottage structural heart program and cardiac catheterization lab and Chair of the Cardiology Department at Sansum Clinic, and Dr. Michael Shenoda, interventional cardiologist for Sansum Clinic and Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, implanted patients with Absorb, the world's first FDA-approved dissolving heart stent.

Learn About Absorb

Watchman Implant

New Alternative to Blood Thinners for Those with AFib

Cottage Heart & Vascular Center - Watchman ImplantSanta Barbara Cottage Hospital is among the first hospitals in California to offer the Watchman implant for patients with atrial fibrillation who need an alternative to long-term blood thinning medication because of bleeding risks. Newly approved, Watchman is specifically for patients who have atrial fibrillation not related to heart valve disease.

Learn About Watchman

What's Your Heart's Age?

Cottage Heart & Vascular Center - AssessmentUse this tool to find out if your heart age is higher or lower than your actual age. After completing the online assessment, you'll receive a free personalized report that outlines important information about your heart health.

Go to the Heart Assessment

TAVR PROCEDURE

Cottage Health TAVR Patient - Violet

Within days of the TAVR procedure, 91-year-old Violet Evelyn Alberts, of Montecito, was back at home enjoying her active and independent lifestyle. Cottage Health is proud to be the first facility in our area to offer patients TAVR, an alternative to open-heart surgery.

Learn About TAVR