Nurses and other caregivers get a 5 star rating. Maybe even that high for the technical ability of the physicians, but that remains to be seen. The short story of this review is that if you or a loved one has had recommended to them a Watchman Appendage Closure Device procedure, please request the Patient Information Guide from Boston Scientific and read it in it's entirety before making a decision.
We did not receive this Information Guide until AFTER the procedure was done. When the doctor recommended it for my mom, he told us to 'research it ourselves' and let him know if we wanted to go forward. I researched it, but only found basic info about the actual procedure itself from the manufacturer. I found nothing about the post procedure requirements. I had no idea just how much we didn't know. In retrospect, it seems negligent to not provide this detailed information before the patient agrees to the Watchman.
For example, we were not informed that mom would be put on a different blood thinner than the one she was taking, and that after the procedure she would have to have weekly blood draws to measure her coagulation levels - for six weeks. We were not informed that after six weeks she would have to have a TEE - an echo that views the heart from a camera inside your esophagus - which requires some sedation and additional risks. We were not informed until after the TEE that someone needed to be with her for 8 hours - something that requires a bit more advance planning to provide.
Before we made our decision, we were not informed that if at six weeks the Watchman area has not healed completely, then blood leaks back into the area it is intended to cut off, increasing your risk of stroke even more, so you will be required to continue a course of Warfarin for the next 4.5 months, with weekly blood tests. That's quite a commitment and increased risk for bleeding.
We were not informed that it is standard procedure to have another TEE at 12 months to ensure everything is okay. If at the 45 day TEE things don't indicate it has closed properly, you'll have another TEE in 6 months.
Given the staggering price tag for this procedure in terms of money and time, I am grateful that my mother has excellent insurance coverage and a family member available to care for her at the drop of a hat. The procedure might be appropriate for your family member, but you need to know the whole story in order to make an informed decision. UTMB failed to provide comprehensive information concerning ALL the protocols involved in the procedure, so we didn't get the chance to make an informed decision before going forward.