Baptist Memphis and Baptist DeSoto recently began using the LARIAT™ device to perform a procedure called atrial appendage closure, which reduces stroke risk in patients with atrial fibrillation who are unable to take blood thinning medications. Because stroke is the third leading cause of death in atrial fibrillation patients, the new therapy is a potential life-saver.
Atrial fibrillation affects about three million people, and patients with the condition are five times more likely to have a stroke. In people with atrial fibrillation, the heart beats either too fast or too slow, making it harder for the heart’s upper and lower chambers to work together. The condition can increase the likelihood that blood will pool and dangerous clots will form.
Possible benefits of the procedure include
• Decreased risk of stroke without affecting the rest of the heart
• It is a permanent, one-time solution.
• The non-surgical procedure is safe for most patients.
• Minimal discomfort after the procedure
• Unlike patients on blood thinners, atrial appendage closure patients won’t need frequent medical visits and blood tests.