Atrial appendage closure is currently offered to patients with atrial fibrillation as an alternative to drug therapy with anticoagulants (oral anticoagulation) to prevent stroke when side effects or bleeding have occurred during therapy.
In an international comparative study (Champion-AF), interested patients with atrial fibrillation at the USZ are treated either with anticoagulants or with an atrial occluder.
The following preparatory examinations are necessary: Cardiac ultrasound via the esophagus (transesophageal echocardiography) or computed tomography of the heart to exclude blood clots in the atrial tube before intervention.
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and mainly under ultrasound guidance (transesophageal echocardiography). A catheter system is positioned over the leg vein and over the atrial septum in the area of the atrial tube entrance. The occluder is placed in the atrial tube in such a way that the entrance is closed. Blood clots can now no longer pass from the atrial tube (the main source of strokes) into the systemic circulation. The catheter system is then removed and the puncture site in the leg vein is sutured. The procedure takes about 30 minutes.
After the intervention, monitoring is necessary for at least six hours, and bed rest with a pressure dressing should be maintained for approximately three hours. In total, an inpatient stay of at least one to two nights must be expected.