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Interventional Closure of the Left Atrial Appendage


Time to read: 2 Min.
Published in: Interventions at 27/10/2021

The atrial tube is a part of the left atrium of the heart where blood clots form particularly frequently. 90% of the clots that can lead to a stroke are located there. Anticoagulant drugs, however, are not always tolerated. How can patients still be helped? 

Stroke Prophylaxis in Atrial Fibrillation 

Closure of the atrial tube using an occluder is a measure to prevent stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. Most patients with atrial fibrillation have an increased risk of having a stroke and need to take anticoagulant medication to prevent it. However, some patients do not tolerate these medications. Interventional atrial appendage closure offers such patients an alternative. 

What is atrial fibrillation? 

Atrial fibrillation is a form of heart rhythm disorder in which the heart is irregularly excited by incorrect electrical stimuli. Because the atria do not contract regularly in atrial fibrillation, blood cannot be pumped efficiently into the heart chambers. This can cause blood clots to form, which can lead to a stroke. 

What is the Process of Closing the Left Atrial Appendage? 

The implantation of the LAA occluder into the left atrial ear is performed in the cardiac catheterisation laboratory of the Hirslanden Clinic in the Park under anaesthesia. Via the inguinal vein and after puncturing the atrial septum, the LAA occluder is placed and deployed in the left atrial ear via a catheter. Positioning is monitored by radiological fluoroscopy and transoesophageal echocardiography. Generally, the procedure is completed after about one hour. 

What happens after the procedure? 

During the course of the approximately three-day inpatient stay, the correct fit of the LAA occluder is checked again by transthoracic echocardiography. Further check-ups take place after three and six months. In the further course, medication with dual platelet inhibition is recommended for a period of six months.

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