October 07, 2020
Inverness, FL – Citrus Memorial Hospital’s Heart and Vascular Center today performed its first implant of a Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) device on a patient with Atrial Fibrillation. The hospital is the first on the Nature Coast to offer the device as an alternative to the lifelong use of warfarin for people with Afib not caused by a heart valve problem.
October 29 is World Stroke Day which serves as a timely reminder of the increased risk of stroke among people living with Afib. An estimated five 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.
The Left Atrial Appendage Closure 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 warfarin.
“This device is a novel 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. Satish Goel. “I’m proud to have performed Citrus Memorial Hospital’s milestone first implant of the device as it offers our patients potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment.”
The LAAC device is permanent. It will never have to be replaced and can’t be seen outside the body. The procedure is done under general anesthesia in the cardiac catheterization lab and takes about an hour. Patients can expect one overnight stay in the hospital.
About atrial fibrillation
Atrial Fibrillation (Afib) is a heart condition where the upper chambers of the heart beat too fast and with irregular rhythm. Afib is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, currently affecting more than five 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 warfarin medication. Despite its proven efficacy, long-term warfarin medication is not well-tolerated by some patients and carries a significant risk for bleeding complications. Nearly half of Afib patients eligible for warfarin are currently untreated due to tolerance and adherence issues.