West Hills Hospital
February 25, 2021

First Hospital in the San Fernando Valley to use the latest generation left atrial appendage closure device to reduce stroke risk

4 Patients implanted with this new device to reduce risk of stroke for patients with heart condition.

West Hills, CA – Aamer Jamali, MD, FACC, board certified interventional cardiologist, James Ong MD, FACC, FHRS, board certified electrophysiologist, Mark Boyajian, MD, anesthesiologist along with the West Hills Hospital Cath Lab team performed the Valley’s first four implants of the latest generation left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) device on patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib). The hospital is one of only a handful in the country to offer the newest device as an alternative to the lifelong use of warfarin, or blood thinner for people with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem, also known as non-valvular AFib.

Those living with AFib, typically have an increased risk of stroke. An estimated six million Americans are affected by AFib—an irregular heartbeat that feels like a quivering heart. People with AFib have a five times greater risk of stroke than those with normal heart rhythms. This new device closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA) to keep harmful blood clots that can form in the LAA from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking blood thinners. The next-generation technology has a new design to help treat more patients safely and effectively to ensure the best long-term outcomes.

“This device is an innovative alternative for patients with non-valvular AFib at risk for a stroke, especially those with a compelling reason not to be on blood thinners,” said Dr. Jamali, Chief of Staff at West Hills Hospital. “West Hills Hospital is proud to be the first hospital in the San Fernando Valley to implant this new device.”

LAA devices have been implanted in more than 150,000 patients worldwide and is done in a one-time, minimally invasive procedure. It is a permanent device that cannot be seen outside the body. The procedure is done under general anesthesia and takes about an hour to complete. Patients commonly stay in the hospital overnight and leave the next day.

“People with atrial fibrillation are at significant risk of stroke,” said Dr. Ong, Medical Director of Electrophysiology at West Hills Hospital. “With state-of-the-art medical advancements and treatments that are offered at West Hills Hospital, this new generation device can help prevent stroke.”

About Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) is a heart condition where the upper chambers of the heart (atrium) beat too fast and with irregular rhythm (fibrillation). AFib is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, currently affecting more than six million Americans. Twenty percent of all strokes occur in patients with AFib, and AFib related strokes are more frequently fatal and disabling. The most common treatment to reduce stroke risk in patients with AFib is blood-thinning medication, such as warfarin. While very effective at reducing the risk of stroke, blood thinners increase the risk of serious bleeding over time and come with certain requirements and restrictions.