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Valley Uses New LARIAT™ Procedure to Reduce Stroke Risk in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation

Valley Uses New LARIAT™ Procedure to Reduce Stroke Risk in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation
February 13, 2013

Ridgewood NJ,  The Valley Hospital is among the first hospitals in the area to perform a new catheter-based procedure that reduces the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation who cannot take blood-thinning medications.

An estimated 2 million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation, or AFib, the most common form of heart rhythm abnormality.  This abnormal heart rhythm causes the upper parts of the heart to quiver, or fibrillate, which hinders blood from moving efficiently from the upper chambers to the lower chambers of the heart.  Because the blood that pools in the upper chambers of the heart is not moving well, it can form a clot.  The clot typically forms in the left atrial appendage (LAA). If the clot then travels from the heart to the brain, it can cause a stroke.

Part of the treatment plan for patients with AFib may include taking an anticoagulant medication to help prevent blood clots from forming.  But not all patients can take blood thinning medication due to bleeding complications.

Cardiac electrophysiologists at Valley’s Arrhythmia Institute are now using a new procedure called the Lariat to block blood clots from traveling from the LAA to the brain.  Just as the name implies, the Lariat procedure uses a lasso-like stitch to tie off the LAA — a muscular pouch connected to the left atrium of the heart that is the major source of blood clots in atrial fibrillation.

“This nonsurgical lasso procedure could provide long-term protection against stroke in patients with AFib who are unable to tolerate blood thinners,” said Suneet Mittal, M.D., Director of the Eletrophysiology Laboratory at Valley.  “Patients who qualify won’t have to endure open-heart surgery, and they can often go home in a day or two with just a band aid on their chest.”

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