What is a left atrial appendage closure?

A left atrial appendage closure or LAA closure is a treatment option for patients who have atrial fibrillation (A-fib).

If you have A-fib, your doctor will recommend that you be placed on a blood thinner. If you are unable to take a blood thinner because of risk of bleeding or falls, your doctor may recommend a left atrial appendage closure.

Why is a left atrial appendage closure done?

When you have A-fib, the signals to the upper part of the heart are very fast and irregular. This can cause your heart to beat faster than normal. The blood does not empty fully from the upper chambers and clots may form, most often in the LAA, which increases your risk for a stroke

If you are at risk of developing clots in the left atrium, your doctor might recommend this procedure.

What to expect during the left atrial appendage closure procedure

A left atrial appendage closure is a procedure performed by your doctor under general anesthesia.

During LAA closure, catheters will be used to deliver a tiny device into the heart. The device is used to seal off the left atrial appendage, keeping blood from reaching that area. 

There are several similar devices that can be used to stop blood flow to the left atrium.  Talk with your doctor to determine which one is right for you.

Common reasons for left atrial appendage closure

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Intolerance to blood thinning medication

Risks of left atrial appendage closure

Although the device is a permanent solution, as with any medical procedure there can be risks associated with the implantation. Your doctor will review the risks and benefits of this procedure with you in detail.

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