Percutaneous Left Atrial Appendage Closure
(Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion)
Left A-tree-ull App-en-dej Oc-clu-shun
by Amy Scholten, MPH
There is a small pouch in the left atrium (top left chamber) of the heart. This pouch is called the left atrial appendage (LAA).
A percutaneous left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) is a procedure to seal the LAA. The seal is done with a device or sutures. It prevents blood from pooling in the atrium.
Reasons for Procedure
Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heartbeat. For people with this condition, an LAAC may be done to prevent:
An LAAC is often done for those who cannot take blood thinner medicine.
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are::
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
The doctor will give general anesthesia. You will be asleep.
Description of the Procedure
A small incision will be made over a vein in the groin. A tube will be placed into the vein. The tube will be passed through blood vessels to the heart. An imaging machine will help the doctor see where the tube is in the body.
Tools or devices will be passed through the tube to complete the work. The exact steps will depend on the type of LAAC. Some options are:
Once the procedure is done, the tubes(s) will be removed. Pressure will be applied to the incision to stop bleeding. A bandage will be placed over the area.
How Long Will It Take?
1 to 2 hours
Will It Hurt?
There will be some pain in the chest and insertion site after the procedure. Medicines and home care will help.
Average Hospital Stay
Most can go home the same day as the procedure.
At the Care Center
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to lower your risk of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to lower your risk of infection such as:
Most can return to normal activities within the first few days.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
Call for medical help right away if you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Heart Association
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Canadian Heart Rhythm Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Atrial fibrillation. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/atrial-fibrillation. Accessed July 21, 2021.
Benefits and risks of left atrial appendage closure. Seconds Count website. Available at:
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. Accessed July 21, 2021.
Gianni C, Anannab A, et al. Closure of the left atrial appendage using percutaneous transcatheter occlusion devices. J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2020;31(8):2179-2186.
Left atrial appendage and closure. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/17167-left-atrial-appendage--closure. Accessed July 21, 2021.
Left atrial appendage closure (LAAC). Seconds Count website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed July 20, 2021.
Left atrial appendage occlusion/Watchman procedure. UPMC website. Available at: https://www.upmc.com/services/south-central-pa/heart-vascular/conditions-services/heart-rhythm-disorders/treatments-services/watchman. Accessed July 20, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 7/21/2021
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