HOUSTON (September 01, 2021)

Electrophysiologists with UTHealth Houston and affiliated with the heart teams at Memorial Hermann Health System are the first in Texas to offer a new device, recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, designed to treat patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib) who are at risk of ischemic stroke. The first cases in Texas using the Abbott Amplatzer Amulet Left Atrial Appendage (LAA) Occluder were performed at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.

“In some people with AFib, the LAA – a small pocket connected to the upper left chamber of the heart – can allow blood to pool and increase the likelihood of a clot formation, which can travel to the brain and cause a stroke,” said Saumya Sharma, MD, an Assistant Professor of Cardiac Electrophysiology with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and the Director of Clinical Research for the Complex Arrhythmia Center at Memorial Hermann-TMC. “This device completely and immediately seals and closes off the LAA, allowing the body to heal over it, preventing clots from forming in the heart and escaping to the brain.”

Sharma adds that this procedure is a good option for those patients who experience side effects or have difficulty taking blood thinners.

“The standard therapy after an atrial appendage procedure of this type would be for the patient to take blood thinners for at least 45 days to avoid blood clots from forming,” Sharma said. “This new device eliminates the need for blood-thinning medications.”

UTHealth was part of the national clinical trial that studied the Amplatzer cardiac plug in patients at Memorial Hermann-TMC. This device gives electrophysiologists another strong and effective option to treat patients who suffer with AFib, part of Memorial Hermann’s commitment to advancing health and personalizing care. The device is currently available at Memorial Hermann-TMC and Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center.

Please visit the Memorial Hermann web page to learn more about this procedure and heart and vascular care.