Stroke prevention is imperative for patients with heart problems including atrial fibrillation or atrial dysfunction. The Left Atrial Appendage (LAA) is a small pouch on the left side of the heart that is a source of thromboembolism or blood clots. Our program offers a through patient -specific plan for LAA stroke management. Together with our providers, patients can now discuss the pros and cons of various medicines and LAA closure strategies to arrive at a shared decision-making plan to reduce the risk of strokes.
We offer several treatment options to lower your stroke risk:
- Anticoagulation treatments hold a vital role in patient care for those patients taking warfarin for atrial fibrillation or venous thromboembolism. Even with the onset of newer direct-acting oral anticoagulants, it is still a necessity for those patients to monitor their INR. Pharmacists are on-hand to do a simple blood test and adjust the Warfarin dosage if necessary; all in one easy appointment. The anticoagulation center offers an area where patients can be monitored closely by pharmacists to ensure that they are taking the correct doses of medications in order to decrease the risk of stroke. Close monitoring of lab values and the adjustment of medications based on these lab values is how this care helps patients reduce their risk of stroke.
- Surgical closure of the LAA with a clip is an option for people with a unique LAA shape or a heart anatomical difference allowing the surgeon to adjust the position of the clip for preventing blood clots. Additionally, the surgical closure of the appendage can assist with atrial fibrillation management. For individuals with atrial fibrillation, that have a history of gastrointestinal bleed, that absolutely cant’ take anticoagulation medicines and an uncommon LAA shape, surgical closure of the LAA is a desired treatment option.
- Watchman Device is a catheter-based device that closes off the LAA in patients that have atrial fibrillation and can tolerate a course of anticoagulation drugs. This Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved device has been widely used in patients with a greater chance of stroke, bleeding and have a lifestyle where it is not ideal to take long term anticoagulations.
- Lariat Device is a combination of a catheter-based device and an external appendage closure device for patients who have a high or persistent atrial fibrillation burden. Patients who have an inability to tolerate long-term anticoagulation medicines and have a lifestyle that is incompatible to take anticoagulations are identified as a candidates for LAA closure with the Lariat Device.