Left atrial appendage occlusion or closure

A procedure to reduce the risk of stroke

A non-surgical cardiac procedure that can reduce the risk of stroke if you have atrial fibrillation.

About LAA

The left atrial appendage (LAA) is a pouch connected to the left atrium of your heart, one of the heart's upper chambers. When the LAA doesn't squeeze consistently, such as in atrial fibrillation, the blood inside may form clots which represent a risk of stroke. Left atrial appendage occlusion closure is an alternative treatment to reduce this risk if you're unable to take blood-thinning medication.

Need to know

  • What happens during an LAA occlusion or closure procedure? icon plus

    The procedure is done under general anaesthetic. A thin flexible tube (catheter) will be threaded into your heart through a vein in your groin. The occlusion device is placed on the end of the catheter in a collapsed state. An echo probe in the oesophagus will help guide it into place.

    Once the catheter is at the opening of the left atrial appendage, the small metal device is secured, preventing blood clots from forming or escaping. This device will stay in place while your own tissue grows over it to permanently seal the entrance. The whole procedure usually takes around an hour.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain the LAA procedure to you and answer any questions you may have. They will let you know how to prepare. Because you'll be under general anaesthetic, your consultant will also let you know how long to avoid eating and drinking beforehand. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved which your specialist will explain these to you.
  • After the procedure icon plus

    You may be able to return home on the same day as your procedure, but most people will need to spend one night in hospital to recover. Your consultant will let you know what to expect. You should avoid vigorous exercise for a few days after the procedure to allow time for the area where the catheter was inserted in your groin to heal.

    Your consultant will discuss this with you and let you know when you can get back to your usual routine, including work or exercise. They’ll also give you advice on any medication you may need to continue taking to manage your condition.

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From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Our locations

From complex cardiothoracic surgery to straightforward cardiology tests and procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

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020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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