How Your Doctor Will Implant the AMPLATZER® Septal Occluder

What to expect during and after the procedure will vary. Read this information carefully and discuss any questions or concerns you have with your doctor.

  1. Your procedure will be performed in the heart catheterization laboratory, or "cath lab." You will lie on an X-ray table, and an X-ray camera will move over your chest during the procedure. The staff will monitor your heart by attaching several small, sticky patches to your chest.
  2. Your doctor will give you an anesthetic. It may be general or local. This will depend on the technique the doctor uses to place the device. There should not be significant discomfort
  3. Your doctor will use some form of ultrasound imaging equipment in order to see your heart during the procedure. An imaging probe may be placed in your mouth and threaded down into your esophagus. This makes it possible to see your heart up close with an echocardiography machine. Ask your doctor which form will be used.
  4. Your doctor will insert a catheter through a vein, and then navigate it through some of your body's largest veins until it reaches your heart. The doctor will perform a procedure (angiogram) to visualize your heart and the ASD.
  5. Your doctor will then measure the pressure and oxygen content in different chambers of your heart and measure the size of your ASD.
  6. The appropriate size AMPLATZER device is screwed onto a cable, put into a special catheter and advanced through your ASD. Your doctor will then push the device out of the catheter until the discs of the device sit on each side of the defect.
  7. Your doctor carefully studies the device's position in your heart. When your doctor is satisfied with the device position, the device is released by unscrewing the cable that was used to slide it through the catheter. The AMPLATZER Septal Occluder is now implanted in your heart.
  8. The catheter and imaging probe (if used) are removed and the procedure is completed. The procedure should take approximately 1-2 hours. The procedure is less invasive than open-heart surgery. Many patients have the procedure done in the morning and go home the following morning.

What To Expect After The Procedure

After recovery from anesthesia and bed rest, you should be able to sit up and walk about. If there are no complications, you may be able to go home that day or if your doctor prefers, stay overnight in the hospital. Before you leave the hospital, a chest X-ray and/or echocardiogram will be performed to make sure the device is still positioned properly.

Because the procedure is less invasive than open-heart surgery, your recovery should be easier. You may have an adhesive bandage where the catheter was inserted. You also may have a minor sore throat if an imaging probe was used.

Before you leave the hospital, your doctor will give you guidelines for activities and medications. Your doctor should tell you when you can resume normal daily activities.

Medications will be an important part of your treatment. Your doctor will prescribe drugs that you should take at home. The drugs should prevent blood clots from forming. Notify your doctor if your medications cause unpleasant reactions, but do not stop taking them unless instructed to do so. Your doctor may be able to prescribe new medications that better suit you.

You will be required to take aspirin every day for the next 6 months. Antibiotics will also be required for endocarditis prophylaxis for certain medical procedures. Ask your doctor which procedures require you to take endocarditis prophylaxis. The decision to continue taking aspirin and endocarditis prophylaxis beyond 6 months is at the discretion of your doctor.

It is important to keep all follow-up appointments that are scheduled for you. You will have to return to your doctor for periodic follow-up visits over the next year.

© AGA Medical Corporation, 2004

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