Percutaneous Left Atrial Appendage Closure (PLAAC)

A Minimally Invasive Procedure to Reduce Stroke Risk

What is PLAAC surgery?

Percutaneous Left Atrial Appendage Closure (or PLAAC Surgery) is a minimally invasive medical procedure used to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib).

What type of procedure is it?

PLAAC is a minimally invasive procedure that involves threading a small tube, called a catheter, through an artery in the leg or chest and up to the left atrial appendage, a small sac in the heart where blood can pool and potentially form clots. A device is then implanted to seal off the appendage and prevent blood clots from forming.

How long does PLAAC surgery usually take?

PLAAC surgery typically takes 1-2 hours to perform.

When is it recommended to have this procedure done?

PLAAC surgery is recommended for patients with AFib who are at high risk of stroke and cannot take blood-thinning medications or have had bleeding complications from these medications.

What happens during PLAAC surgery?

During the procedure, the patient is given medication to help them relax and local anesthesia to numb the area where the catheter will be inserted. The catheter is then inserted into an artery in the leg or chest and guided to the heart, where the device is implanted in the left atrial appendage.

What do you need to do before the procedure?

Before having PLAAC surgery, patients will need to undergo several tests to evaluate their heart and overall health. They may also need to stop taking certain medications and fast for a period of time before the procedure.

What are the post-procedural recommendations?

Patients should follow their doctor’s instructions regarding medications, activity level, and follow-up appointments. They should also inform their doctor of any symptoms or concerns they may have.

What are the possible complications, and how likely are they to occur?

Possible complications of PLAAC include bleeding, infection, stroke, and damage to the heart or blood vessels. While these complications are rare, they can occur in some cases.

How long will you need to stay in the hospital after the procedure?

After the procedure, patients will need to stay in the hospital for a day or two for monitoring and recovery. They may need to take medications to prevent blood clots and avoid strenuous activity for several weeks.

How long will it take to fully recover after the procedure?

Recovery time varies depending on the individual patient and the complexity of the case. Patients can typically resume normal activities within a few weeks to a few months after the procedure.

In conclusion, Percutaneous Left Atrial Appendage Closure (PLAAC) is a minimally invasive procedure that can be a safe and effective treatment option for patients with atrial fibrillation who are at high risk of stroke and cannot take blood-thinning medications. While there are some risks associated with the procedure, they are generally low, and the benefits of reduced stroke risk can be significant.

If you have AFib and are at risk of stroke, talk to your doctor about whether PLAAC may be an appropriate treatment option for you.

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