Percutaneous closure of the left atrial appendage (Watchman®, Amulet®)

This technique can be used to close the left atrial appendage via the artery in your groin. The left atrial appendage is the place where most blood clots occur in the heart. In patients with specific heart rhythm problems (atrial fibrillation) who need anticoagulants but are unable to take them due to major side effects (bleeding), closing the left atrial appendage can be a good solution to avoid the formation of blood clots. In this way the risk of a stroke can be considerably reduced.

Approved implantation centre

The UZ Brussel Centre for Cardiovascular Diseases is an approved implantation centre for percutaneous closure of the left atrial appendage. This treatment is part of the clinical treatment for atrial fibrillation in which UZ Brussel is an international leader.

Before your treatment

  • The treatment and the possible associated risks will be discussed with you and your family beforehand.
  • A number of preparatory tests which are carried out as an outpatient will be arranged to find out whether the procedure is feasible and determine which size of heart valve to use. A group of specialists called the heart team will decide whether or not you are eligible after carefully discussing the results. The following tests will be arranged:
  • Certain medications have to be stopped temporarily. This will be discussed in detail beforehand with the doctor providing your treatment.
  • You must not eat or drink anything before you are admitted to hospital.

The treatment

  1. You will be given a general anaesthetic.
  2. Via the artery in your groin, a special catheter will be inserted as far as the left atrial appendage.
  3. The left atrial appendage is then closed off using a plug.
  4. You will have to spend one night in hospital after the treatment.

After the treatment

  • For three days after the treatment you must not have a bath, lift heavy items or ride a bicycle. You can have a shower. This is to allow the puncture site in your groin to heal properly.
  • For three months after the treatment you must take extra platelet inhibitors.

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