Left Atrial Appendage Closure

AF involves uncoordinated quivering (fibrillation) of the left atrium (as opposed to a regular, pulsatile movement). This uncoordinated movement may lead to blood pooling and clot formation within the left atrium, most commonly in an area known as the left atrial appendage. Clot within the left atrial appendage may become dislodged and enter the blood stream, leading to a stroke. Patients with AF suffer a five-fold increased stroke risk compared to the general population.

The two common strategies to address the problem of clot formation in the left atrial appendage secondary to AF are:

  1. Anticoagulation (thinning of the blood to prevent clot formation).
  2. Left atrial appendage ligation (closing the opening of the appendage so that it no longer communicates with the bloodstream).