Northwest Texas Healthcare System became the first hospital in Amarillo to perform a minimally invasive catheter-based procedure to close the left atrial appendage (LAA). The procedure, which uses the LARIAT® Suture Delivery Device, closes the LAA, which is a benefit for individuals with atrial fibrillation (AF) who cannot tolerate blood thinners.
For patients with AF, the most common heart rhythm disorder, the LAA no longer rhythmically contracts creating a sluggish blood flow that can cause blood to pool and clot. These blood clots can lead to stroke. AF patients are often prescribed a blood thinner to prevent clotting; however, some blood thinners cannot be tolerated by all patients.
Rodney Horton, MD, FACC, from Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia in Austin, performed the minimally invasive LARIAT procedure at Northwest Texas Healthcare System. During the LARIAT procedure, a local anesthetic is used to numb the area under the breast bone. After the area is numbed, two catheters are guided into the patient's heart to seal the LAA with a pre-tied suture loop — similar to a lasso — using the LARIAT Suture Delivery Device. Once tied off, the appendage will turn into scar tissue over time. This procedure has the potential to reduce risk of stroke.
Unlike traditional surgical treatments, this procedure is completed through small punctures in the skin. The patient may experience less pain, a shorter recovery time and a lower risk of complications.