New minimally invasive procedure for AF patients who are intolerant of blood-thinning medications

Published on January 15, 2014 at 1:58 AM · No Comments

Sanford Heart Hospitals in Fargo and Sioux Falls now provide a new, minimally invasive procedure for atrial fibrillation (AF) patients who are intolerant of blood-thinning medications. Atrial fibrillation is a heart disorder that affects nearly 3 million adults in the United States.

The procedure, which uses the FDA-approved LARIAT® Suture Delivery Device, provides a permanent, one-time solution to reduce complications surrounding the disorder - primarily the risk of stroke. Sanford Heart Hospital locations are the only facilities in North Dakota and South Dakota to offer this therapy.

People with AF have an irregular heartbeat - either too fast or too slow. The disruption makes it difficult for the heart's upper and lower chambers to work together, increasing the likelihood of blood to pool and dangerous clots to form.

Blood-thinning medications are an option, but approximately 40 percent of patients are intolerant to this form of therapy. Because people with AF are five times more likely to have a stroke - most of which stem from blood clots in the heart's left atrial appendage (LAA) - the experts at Sanford recognized a need.

Through a catheter procedure, cardiologists can close the LAA, blocking potential stroke-causing blood clots from traveling to the brain. Another benefit for the patients is that no metal, clip or implant are left behind.

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