The Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) is an alternative to long-term medication use, or warfarin therapy, for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (A-Fib). This one-time, minimally invasive procedure is designed to reduce the risk of strokes that originate in the left atrial appendage (LAA).
Benefits of the LAAC Device
Implanting this device is intended to close the LAA using a percutaneous transcatheter technique. Those at risk for stroke and/or a systemic embolism with a non-valvular form of A-Fib may be eligible for a LAAC Device. The procedure:
- Is minimally invasive
- A permanent implant
- Typically lasts less than 1 hour
- Involves an average hospital stay of 24 hours
Patients who are suitable for warfarin and seek a non-pharmacologic alternative to treat their A-Fib may be candidates for this treatment.
How It Works
The left atrial appendage (LAA) is a thin, sack-like appendage arising from the left side of the heart. It's believed to be the cause of more than 90% of stroke-causing blood clots in people with non-valvular A-Fib. By closing the LAA, the risk of stroke is reduced and over time, patients will likely be able to stop taking warfarin medication.
Implanting the LAAC Device is a one-time procedure that usually lasts about an hour and is typically conducted with general anesthesia. Here's how it works:
- The device is implanted through a femoral vein via a transseptal approach using a catheter-based delivery system.
- Once placed, the device is designed to permanently close off the LAA and prevent any migration of emboli to the brain.
- Patients remain on an oral anticoagulant (OAC) for at least 45 days post-procedure as heart tissue grows over the implant and seals the LAA.
- The body heals and the device becomes fully endothelialized.
Left Atrial Appendage Closure is a safe and effective alternative to long-term oral anticoagulants.
WATCHMAN LAAC Implant
The Heart Center at Mercy Hospital specializes in offering patients this lifesaving procedure as part of Catholic Health's Structural Heart Program. Our cardiac team has completed over 100 successful WATCHMAN LAAC Implant procedures.
The WATCHMAN LAAC Implant is the only FDA-approved implant proven to reduce stroke risk in people with atrial fibrillation (A-Fib), an irregular heartbeat, not caused by a heart valve problem. Long-term studies suggest that the device reduces the risk of disabling and fatal strokes.
To learn more about the WATCHMAN device, click here.