Left Atrial Appendage Closure | MedStar Health

Advanced therapies to reduce blood clots and stroke risk

The left atrial appendage (LAA) is a small pocket attached to the left atrium, one of the heart’s four chambers. When atrial fibrillation (AFib) disrupts normal blood flow through the heart, blood can collect and clot within the LAA, increasing the risk of stroke.

The doctors in our Electrophysiology program were among the first in the nation to use the WATCHMAN™ device, a groundbreaking AFib and LAA therapy. We perfected its use through clinical trials, and we continually research and refine new procedures to treat even the most complex arrhythmias.

What to expect during left atrial appendage closure

The WATCHMAN and the AMPLATZER Amulet are the two devices we use to close the LAA.

  • WATCHMAN: Your doctor will place the WATCHMAN device, which is similar to a permanent mesh filter, in the opening of the LAA. Over time, scar tissue will form over it and seal off the pocket. Our team is continuing to participate in clinical trials to improve the use of this device.

  • AMPLATZER Amulet: Currently used in clinical trials, the Amulet device is similar to and smaller than the WATCHMAN and has the potential to benefit a wide range of eligible patients. MedStar Health is the first program in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., to offer this device.

Left Atrial Appendage Occluders (LAAOs) Reduce the Risk of Stroke in AFib Patients

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Dr. John Wang discusses left atrial appendage occluders for AFib patients. Left atrial appendage occluders seal off the left atrial appendage -- reducing the risk for stroke and eliminating the need for blood thinnners.

Electrophysiology program

We are leaders in developing and using the latest procedures and technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders, and our cardiac electrophysiology laboratory is one of the most sophisticated in North America.


Chest X-ray

Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart and chest wall.


An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.

Event Monitors

An event monitor is a small device that records the heart’s electrical activity. It’s similar to an electrocardiogram, but whereas an electrocardiogram takes place over a few minutes, an event monitor measures heart rhythms over a much longer time.

Holter Monitors

A Holter monitor is a small device that records the heart’s electrical activity. It’s similar to an electrocardiogram, but whereas an electrocardiogram records over a few minutes, a Holter monitor records over the course of a day or two.

Stress Tests

Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms, and chemically induced stress tests.

Our locations

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MedStar Washington Hospital Center

110 Irving St. NW
Washington, DC 20010

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

201 E. University Pkwy.
Baltimore, MD 21218

Ask MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

Have general questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at AskMHVI@medstar.net. If you have clinically-specific questions, please contact your physician’s office.