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Left atrial appendage occlusion or closure (LAAC)

A procedure to reduce the risk of stroke

LAAC is a non-surgical cardiac procedure that can reduce the risk of stroke if you have atrial fibrillation (AF)

About

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 AF, the blood inside may form clots which represent a risk of stroke. LAAC is an alternative treatment to reduce this risk if you're unable to take blood-thinning medication.

Need to know

  • What happens 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 LAAC 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. Your consultant will explain these to you.
  • Afterwards 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.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

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

Our facilities

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

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

  • facility-HSC-flag-hero-582x582

    The Harley Street Clinic

    35 Weymouth Street

    London

    W1G 8BJ

    Appointments 020 7034 8181
    Enquiries 020 3131 7962

  • Wellington-south-hero-facility-582-582

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 0207 483 5148
    Enquiries 020 3131 7478

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

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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