Left Atrial Appendage Implant
People with atrial fibrillation (Afib) may be at greater risk for stroke than people with normal heart rhythms. An irregular heart rhythm can cause blood to pool and form clots in an area of your heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA). If a blood clot forms in the LAA, it can escape and travel to the brain and cause a stroke.
Closing the LAA is an effective way to reduce stroke risk in people with Afib not caused by heart valve problems. This can be done by implanting an FDA-approved LAA closure device. In a clinical trial, nine out of 10 people were able to stop taking warfarin just 45 days after getting the implant.
- UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester uses the Watchman device, a permanent implant designed to close off the LAA.
- It’s a one-time procedure that may reduce stroke risk for a lifetime.
- It’s as effective as warfarin in reducing the risk of stroke.
- Unlike warfarin, the implant also reduces the long-term risk of bleeding.
- The device is about the size of a quarter and made from materials commonly used in many other medical implants.
- Done in less than an hour, the implant doesn’t require open heart surgery and is typically done under general anesthesia.
Watch our informational webinar.
Watch a video about how the implant works.
Complete this short questionnaire for more information on eligibility.
Is a Left Atrial Appendage Implant Right for You?
An LAA closure device implant may be right for you if:
- You have atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem
- Your doctor recommends that you take a blood thinner for your Afib
- You’ve experienced major bleeding while taking blood thinners
- You have a lifestyle, job or health condition that puts you at risk for major bleeding
- You need an alternative to long-term blood thinners