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How a minimally invasive procedure is helping patients with AFib

The LAA Closure Program provides an option for treating AFib without long-term use of blood thinning medication. Sponsored by Overlake Medical Center.

SEATTLE — A unique partnership between Overlake’s Heart and Vascular Center and EvergreenHealth Heart Care is supporting patients on the Eastside with comprehensive heart care services.

“It provides a wide range of cardiovascular services, including cardiac rehabilitation, cardiac surgery, preventative heart care, and even specialized treatments, like valve treatments, treatment for blockages, or heart rhythm issues,” said Dr. Maheer Gandhavadi, cardiac electrophysiology at Overlake Medical Center & Clinics and EvergreenHealth.

One of the programs the partnership provides is care for patients with AFib through the Left Atrial Appendage (LAA) Closure Program. AFib occurs when the top chambers of the heart get out of rhythm and beat too fast and irregularly. When you have AFib, blood can pool and clot in the LAA, a small sac in the heart’s top left chamber (atrium).

AFib can lead to blood clots in the heart that can cause strokes, and blood thinning medications are not an option for some patients. The LAA Closure Program provides an alternative treatment to blood thinners.

“It seals it off so that blood cots can’t form and blood can’t get in,” Dr. Gandhavadi said. “It protects you from strokes.”

Though it’s important to get treatment for AFib, many times people who have it may experience little to no symptoms.

“With AFib, we talk about the rhythm being irregular and the heart beating irregularly, but a lot of people don’t feel that,” Dr. Gandhavadi said.

If you do feel tired or out of breath more often or have decreased energy, it’s important to discuss that with your doctor. Some smart watches can also detect irregular rhythms now.

At Overlake, LAA closure device procedures take place in one of the region’s most advanced electrophysiology labs. This high-tech procedure room allows heart rhythm specialists to implant the device through a blood vessel in a patient’s leg.

“The great thing about a lot of these procedures is that they’re minimally invasive,” Dr. Gandhavadi said. “There’s very little downtime, and patients can usually go home the same day or the next day.”

To get more information on Overlake’s LAA Closure Program, visit the Heart and Vascular Care Arrhythmia Center page on Overlake’s website.

Sponsored by Overlake Medical Center. Segment Producer Joseph Suttner. Watch New Day Northwest 11 a.m. weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day.

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