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People with atrial fibrillation (Afib) have a higher risk of stroke due to having an irregular heart rhythm which can cause blood to clot in the left atrial appendage of the heart. Should a blood clot form and travel to another part of the body, it can cut off blood supply to the brain, causing a stroke.

Most often the increased risk of stroke for people with Afib is treated using anticoagulation medication, known as blood thinners, but not everyone can tolerate the medication. For those with non-valvular atrial fibrillation, Inova Heart and Vascular Institute offers an alternative to medication using a minimally invasive procedure to implant the WATCHMAN device.

Following placement of the device, anticoagulation medication is permanently discontinued after 45 days. WATCHMAN is a permanent implant.


WATCHMAN is a parachute-like device inserted at the opening of the left atrial appendage to prevent clots from leaving the appendage and causing a stroke. The procedure is performed by a team of interventional cardiologists and cardiac electrophysiologists. The procedure requires the patient to stay overnight prior to being discharged to home.

Who is WATCHMAN appropriate for?

WATCHMAN is for those with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem who need an alternative to blood thinners.

Co-Directors of Inova's WATCHMAN Program:

Matthew W. Sherwood, MD

Stanley A. Strickberger, MD


Robert L. McSwain, MD

Haroon Rashid, MD

Shahram Yazdani, MD

Learn more about the WATCHMAN implant (Boston Scientific website)>>

Learn more about Atrial Fibrillation and the full scope of treatments Inova offers