Left Atrial Appendage Closure

What is a Left Atrial Appendage Closure?

“Watchman”

Left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) is a treatment strategy to reduce the risk of left atrial appendage blood clots from entering the bloodstream and causing a stroke in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF). The left atrial appendage (LAA) is a small, ear-shaped sac in the muscle wall of the left atrium (top left chamber of the heart).

Why would I need a LAAC?

In non-valvular AF, over 90% of stroke-causing clots that come from the heart are formed in the left atrial appendage. The most common treatment for atrial fibrillation stroke risk is treatment with blood-thinning medications, anticoagulants.  These medications are very effective in lowering the risk of stroke in AF patients. Most patients can safely take these medications for years (and even decades) without serious side effects.

However, some patients find that blood thinning medications can be difficult to tolerate or they are unable to take them for other medical reasons. 

Left atrial appendage closure is an implant-based alternative to blood thinners. Like blood thinning medications, an LAAC implant does not cure AF. A stroke can be due to factors not related to a clot traveling to the brain from the left atrium. Other causes of stroke can include high blood pressure and narrowing of the blood vessels to the brain. An LAAC implant will not prevent these other causes of stroke.

 

Please speak with your provider about the details and eligibility of this device for your condition.

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