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If you have atrial fibrillation not caused by heart valve problems and are taking blood thinners to reduce your risk for a stroke, a left atrial appendage (LAA) closure may be a safe, effective alternative for you.
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most common type of heart rhythm abnormality — or arrhythmia — by far, and it can increase the risk for a stroke. Given poor atrial contraction while in atrial fibrillation, the blood pools in the atria and can form a clot, especially in an outpouching of the atria called the left atrial appendage, which is where the vast majority of the clots are formed.
The first step in effectively minimizing the risk of blood clots and strokes caused by AFib is to identify those patients at high risk for a stroke. These high-risk patients are often treated successfully with anticoagulant medications. However, some patients cannot take these medications long-term due to side effects— most commonly bleeding —or because they interfere with their lifestyle or other medications they are taking. In those patients, a procedure called the left atrial appendage closure may be a good option.
What is Left Atrial Appendage Closure?
A left atrial appendage closure procedure is exactly what it sounds like. It is a procedure that closes off the opening of your left atrial appendage. This prevents any blood clots that form from entering the bloodstream and causing a stroke.
Want to Learn More?
We invite you to attend one of our free virtual seminars in which we review the options for left appendage close and answer your questions.