EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — The Cardiac Center at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Clairee now offers two new heart procedures for patients experiencing atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots and increase the risk of stroke. Patients now have the options of left atrial appendage closure and hybrid ablation surgery to correct atrial fibrillation.
Left atrial appendage closure seals off the left atrial appendage, a pouchlike extension of the heart. This prevents blood from circulating through and pooling, decreasing the risk of blood clots that can travel to the brain or heart and cause a stroke. During the procedure, the surgeon threads a catheter through the groin and up through the heart to the left atrial appendage. A small, parachute-shaped device is implanted to block the opening to the left atrial appendage. In time, tissue grows over the device, holding it into place. The device will never need to be replaced.
"Left atrial appendage closure is a good option for patients who cannot tolerate blood thinners," says Gurpreet Singh, M.B.B.S., M.D., an interventional cardiologist at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. "It is a noninvasive procedure that does not require open surgery. A person could have the procedure and go home the next day."
For patients who have been experiencing atrial fibrillation for more than one year, hybrid ablation is a new procedure that improves success rates. Hybrid ablation combines two procedures performed four to six weeks apart.
In the first procedure, called the convergent procedure, the heart surgeon inserts a tube through a small incision just below the breastbone, threads the tube near the heart, and delivers radiofrequency energy to scar the part of the heart that is causing the irregular heartbeat. Then a clip is placed on the left atrial appendage to cut it off from the rest of the heart. This closes off the part of the heart that is responsible for most blood clots caused by atrial fibrillation.
The second procedure, performed about four to six weeks later, is called catheter ablation. During the catheter ablation procedure, the surgeon uses long, flexible tubes inserted through a vein or artery in the groin and threaded into the heart to modify the tissues causing the arrhythmia. The first procedure ablates the outside of the heart. The second procedure ablates the inside, taking a whole-heart approach to treating the arrhythmia.
"By restoring the heart to a normal rhythm, we can improve quality of life, making a person feel less tired, and experience less shortness of breath and fewer heart palpitations," says Vaibhav Vaidya, M.B.B.S., a cardiac electrophysiologist.
Call Mayo Clinic Health System at 715-838-6320 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
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Press ContactDan Lea