Atrial fibrillation, a potentially fatal heart condition affecting more than two million Americans, is often treated with medications, some with serious side effects. Biomedical textile developer Secant Medical LLC, Perkasie, Pa., joined medical device maker AtriCure®, Cincinnati, Ohio, to provide a surgical solution: AtriClip™. The clip is implanted in an open chest procedure on the outside of the heart, blocking blood flow and, eventually, electrical communication between the heart and the left atrial appendage (LAA). By achieving this block, the LAA no longer interferes with the normal heart function.
The AtriClip has two parallel titanium beams with springs that create a controlled pressure along its length, covered with polyester fabric that secures the device to the LAA and stimulates cell growth that will keep it in place over the long term. Secant Medical provided the beam cover fabric, as well as specialty sutures to install the device. The European Union approved the AtriClip for use in 2009 and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration followed suit in 2010.