AF Information & Advice For Patients
Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion
What is the left atrial appendage occlusion (LAAO) procedure?
The LAAO device, in trials and in practice, has proven to be an effective option in reducing the risk of AFib-related stroke in AFib patients for whom an oral anticoagulant is unsafe or contraindicated.
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) can present in varying forms and with a range of symptoms. However, common to all of these is the increased risk to an individual of an AFib-related stroke. AFib-related strokes are far more likely to be disabling and fatal than non-AFib strokes.
The AF Association is supporting an extensive educational programme seeking to increase the use of appropriate therapies for all AFib patients in order to significantly reduce the risk of AFib-related strokes.
- A left atrial appendage device protects, restores and gives hope for a future.
- LAA devices can reduce the risk of an AF-related stroke by up to 70%.
- It is needed because there is NO OTHER alternative available for this group of high risk AFib patients.
How the procedure works
The procedure takes around 1-2 hours and the patient is usually given general anesthetic. Depending on the type of imaging system used for visualising the heart, the procedure could be done under sedation.
A guide sheath (flexible tube) is inserted into a large vein in the groin and threaded up to the right atrium of the heart. It is then passed through a hole into the left atrium. In some patients this hole exists naturally; if not the doctor will make a small needle-hole and stretch it to allow the sheath through. The doctor then positions the guide sheath in the mouth of the left atrial appendage, and uses it to pass the occlusion device inside.When the doctor is satisfied with the position of the occlusion device, it is released, plugging the appendage, and the sheath is then removed
This videos below illustrate the procedure:
Watch videos of patients who have benefitted from a LAAO: