Left Atrial Appendage (LAA) Closure Program
The Left Atrial Appendage (LAA) Closure Program at Overlake Medical Center offers the latest devices to lower the risk of stroke in people with atrial fibrillation (AFib). We’re the only medical center on Seattle’s Eastside offering this advanced stroke prevention treatment.
Heart rhythm specialists (electrophysiologists) at Overlake’s Bob and Patty Edwards Arrhythmia Center are experts at implanting LAA closure devices, including the WATCHMAN™ and Amplatzer Amulet™ LAA Occluder. These devices seal off a pouch-like part of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA) where AFib causes stroke-causing blood clots form. Most people who undergo one of these minimally invasive LAA closure procedures can stop taking blood-thinning medications to prevent strokes.
Conditions we treat
The LAA Closure Program helps people with atrial fibrillation (AFib), the most common heart arrhythmia. AFib occurs when your heart gets out of rhythm and beats too fast, affecting your heart’s ability to pump blood. When you have AFib, blood can pool and clot in the LAA, a small sac in the heart’s top left chamber (atrium). A blood clot that leaves the LAA can travel to other parts of the body through your bloodstream. A clot that gets stuck can cut off the blood supply to your brain and cause a life-threatening stroke.
To lower the risk of stroke, many people with AFib have to take daily blood-thinning medications. Unfortunately, these daily medications can cause side effects like bruising, headaches, upset stomach, bleeding gums, nosebleeds and poor wound healing. The drugs can also interact with medications, supplements, foods and drinks.
A LAA closure device prevents strokes without the need for daily blood thinners. After you receive a LAA closure device, scar tissue forms around it, eventually sealing off the LAA.
Most people who get a LAA closure device can switch from blood-thinning medications to low-dose baby aspirin within six months. You’ll take baby aspirin for life, but there are fewer, less severe side effects.
Expertise with the latest LAA closure devices
Our electrophysiology team has deep experience with LAA closure devices. We’re also active in clinical trials to develop and test new LAA closure devices. Our team selects the device that works best for your specific heart anatomy and offers you the best results.
Minimally invasive approach for a faster recovery
At Overlake, LAA closure device procedures take place in one of the region’s most advanced electrophysiology (EP) labs. This high-tech procedure room allows our heart rhythm specialists to use a minimally invasive approach to place the device. Your doctor threads the device to your heart through a catheter (thin, flexible tube) inserted into a vein in the groin. There’s no need to open the chest. You benefit from a faster, less painful recovery, with less risk of complications. Most people go home within 24 hours of having the procedure.
Range of advanced arrhythmia treatments
A LAA closure device lowers your risk of stroke but it doesn’t treat AFib. For AFib and other types of arrhythmias, Overlake’s state-of-the-art Arrhythmia Center provides a full spectrum of arrhythmia treatments. We offer medication management, catheter ablations, and the latest pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). Our team has the expertise and treatments to make sure your heart rhythm is treated in the best possible way.
Expert, convenient cardiac care
As an Eastside leader in cardiac care, we make it easier for you to get the treatments and care you need closer to where you live and work. Our EP team achieves exceptional patient results, including fewer treatment complications and lower hospital readmission rates than most other hospitals in the area. Doctors from other medical centers send patients with complex cardiac needs to us for advanced treatments.