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Left atrial appendage closure (LAAC)

Left atrial appendage closure

One of the most common causes of severe strokes are blood clots that typically form in the left auricle during atrial fibrillation. If these clots break loose, they can reach the brain and suddenly occlude a blood vessel that supplies the brain. The result is under-supply of blood and irreversible damage to the brain.

Therefore, patients with atrial fibrillation and increased risk of stroke are given blood thinners such as Vitamin K antagonists or new oral anticoagulants. However, this blood-thinning therapy is associated with elevated rates of bleeding. Cerebral hemorrhage, gastrointestinal bleeding and bleeding caused by a fall occurs significantly more often in patients receiving anticoagulants, meaning that this very important treatment must be discontinued.

For these patients, the Heart Center team offers a transcatheter closure of the left atrial appendage. The procedure itself is carried out under general anesthesia. In a minimally invasive technique, the atrial auricle is closed with a small screen. Following a successful operation, anticoagulation is no longer necessary and the patient is protected against strokes caused by blood clots from that area.