Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion (LAAO) is a medical procedure that involves sealing off the left atrial appendage (LAA), a small pouch connected to the left atrium of the heart. This procedure is typically performed in patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib) who are at risk of stroke, as blood can pool in the LAA and form clots that may then travel to the brain and cause a stroke.
The LAAO procedure involves using a device, such as a clip or plug, to block off the LAA and prevent blood from entering it. This reduces the risk of stroke in patients with AFib, as it eliminates the source of potential clots. The procedure is typically performed using minimally invasive techniques, such as transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) or cardiac catheterization.
LAAO is a relatively new procedure, but it has been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of stroke in patients with AFib. However, like any medical procedure, it carries some risks, such as bleeding, infection, or device-related complications. Patients who are considering LAAO should discuss the risks and benefits with their healthcare provider to determine if it is the right choice for them.« Back to Glossary Index