Left atrial appendage closure is a procedure that closes off the opening of your left atrial appendage. Your left atrial appendage is a small pouch, shaped like a windsock, found in the top left of your heart (the left atrium). Like your appendix, your left atrial appendage doesn’t really have a clear role to play in your body.
If you have a disease known as atrial fibrillation – which occurs when your heart’s electrical system is disturbed and your heartbeat becomes irregular.
As your heart contracts with each heartbeat, blood is squeezed out of the left atrium and into the left ventricle (bottom left of your heart). If you have atrial fibrillation, blood can’t be squeezed out of your left atrium effectively, and can therefore collect in your left atrial appendage and increase your chances of a stroke.
Blood thinning medications are a common treatment for atrial fibrillation but they aren’t suitable for everyone. If you can’t take medication, left atrial appendage closure is an alternative option to prevent stroke.