Invasive and interventional cardiology uses minimally-invasive testing and procedures to diagnose and treat heart conditions. At Cardiovascular Medicine, PLLC, we are leaders in providing invasive cardiology treatments that relieve your symptoms and lower your risk of complications from heart disease. Our board certified physicians have undergone extensive specialized training to ensure you receive state-of-the-art care.
When to See an Interventional Cardiologist
Having a heart condition can prevent you from living life to its fullest. Interventional cardiologists can help you experience relief from your symptoms as well as reduce your risk of developing a more serious form of heart disease. Invasive cardiology procedures can help manage various heart conditions, including:
To understand what’s causing your symptoms, it is necessary to perform diagnostic testing. We offer several types of diagnostic procedures that allow us to see how well your heart and vessels are functioning. This provides us with a clearer picture so we can recommend the appropriate treatment plan. Our comprehensive diagnostic procedures include:
The goal of treatment for cardiovascular conditions is to provide you with both relief from symptoms and the peace of mind that comes with prioritizing your health. We are proud to offer the most advanced treatment options in the area. With the right interventional cardiology treatments, we can help you better manage your condition and significantly improve your day-to-day living. Our treatments include:
Left Atrial Appendage Closure
What is a Left Arterial Appendage Closure?
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a common heart rhythm disorder that can cause blood clots and a higher risk of stroke. Though it is often managed with blood thinners, some patients want or need an alternative treatment. In cases such as these, we recommend a procedure called a left atrial appendage closure. There are several types of left atrial appendage closure procedures. The one we perform at Cardiovascular Medicine, PLLC., is the WATCHMAN™ treatment.
WATCHMAN™ is a one-time, minimally-invasive cardiology procedure for people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem. It is a permanent heart implant that closes off the left atrial appendage, preventing blood clots from moving out of it.
The left atrial appendage is a small sac in the muscle wall of your left atrium, the top left chamber of your heart. This appendage doesn't have a function, so your heart can continue to do its job even with it closed.
If you have atrial fibrillation, you are three to five times more likely to have a stroke compared to the general population. Studies have shown that most of the blood clots that happen in the left atrium start in the left atrial appendage. With a WATCHMAN™ device, your risk of stroke can be reduced considerably.
What to Expect
We will perform the left atrial appendage closure using general anesthesia. During the procedure, our specialists will insert a catheter through a vein in your leg, advancing it until it reaches the upper right chamber of your heart. The catheter will serve as the delivery tube for the device.
We will make a small hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart so that the catheter reaches the left atrium. Via the delivery catheter, we insert the device into the left atrial appendage, where it expands and is permanently implanted. Once the device is in place, it takes about 45 days for a thin layer of tissue to grow around it and fill in the gaps. This closure prevents blood clots that form in the left atrial appendage from entering the bloodstream.
After the Procedure
Risks & Side Effects
Invasive cardiology procedures are accompanied by some risks and side effects, including bruising at the catheter insertion site or allergic reaction. Though rare, complications are also possible, such as blood clots or stroke. Scroll down for a more complete list of possible risks and side effects.
Am I a Candidate?
Taking blood thinners is a common way for atrial fibrillation patients to reduce their risk of stroke. However, the longer you take blood thinners, the more at risk you become for a bleeding episode. Those who have a history of serious bleeding may be good candidates for the WATCHMAN™ implant. You may also be a candidate if you have a lifestyle or condition that increases your risk of bleeding.
Not everyone is a candidate for the WATCHMAN™ implant. This procedure is only recommended for those who have atrial fibrillation that is not caused by a heart valve problem. If you qualify for the procedure, we will perform testing to confirm the correct left atrial appendage size prior to the procedure. We will also perform testing after the procedure to confirm that your heart tissue has grown over the WATCHMAN™ implant — a sign that your left atrial appendage is permanently sealed.
More on Left Arterial Appendage Closure
Uncommon Risks & Side Effects
- Accidental heart puncture
- Bruising at the catheter insertion site
- Excessive bleeding
- Pulmonary edema
- Kidney failure
- Transient ischemic attack.
- Death (rare)