Left Atrial Appendage (LAA) Occlusion

LAA occlusion is a safe and effective option for patients with a significant stroke risk due to blood pooling and forming clots within the left atrial appendage who cannot take anti-clotting medication. To know how LAA occlusion works, we must understand the heart’s anatomy. The heart is divided into four chambers. The two upper chambers are known as the Atria, and the two lower chambers are the ventricles. Within the upper left atrium is the LAA. It is a small outpouching, much like the appendix in the colon. In a normal heartbeat, blood enters and leaves the LAA appropriately. However, atrial fibrillation and other cardiac arrhythmias may affect how the blood is pumped out of the LAA. That which remains can stagnate and ultimately clot. This is the basis for the five times increased risk of stroke in patients with Afib.

Anticoagulant medication is the definitive risk-reducing modality for this stroke risk. However, over 50% of patients do not continue their anticoagulant medication for one reason or another. These patients require an effective solution to reduce that risk without medication. LAA occlusion does just that by placing a device over the opening to the LAA. The risk of clots entering the blood system is dramatically reduced.

Doctor Moretta specializes in two LAA closure devices.

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