What is the left atrial appendage?
The most serious risk from atrial fibrillation is thromboembolic stroke. The left atrial appendage (LAA) is a pouch-like extension of the left atrium about the size of your thumb with a narrow opening into the left atrium. With atrial fibrillation, blood can pool and form clots in this appendage. If a blood clot breaks loose it may travel through the blood vessels and eventually plug a smaller vessel in the brain or heart.
Doctors often prescribe the blood thinning medications such as Coumadin to prevent blood clots, however, it can often cause serious side effects and is not effective for all patients. Today, the doctors at PHCVI can offer many patients an alternative such as Left Atrial Appendage Ligation (LAL) to prevent blood clots associated with atrial fibrillation.
What is left atrial appendage ligation?
Left atrial appendage ligation is a procedure used to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. During this procedure the left atrial appendage is permanently sealed off from the rest of the heart. This prevents blood from circulating and pooling in the appendage and causing clots, potentially decreasing the risk of stroke.
How does the AtriClip® work?
The AtriClip (applied to the outside surface of the left atrial appendage) device permanently closes off the left atrial appendage at its base from the circulating blood, preventing blood from entering the pouch that is the source for over 95% of detected blood clots (thrombi) in patients with atrial fibrillation.
The surgeons at PCHVI are among the pioneers in the use of the AtriClip in clinical trials.