Lariat: New way to lasso stroke risk
Monday, December 15, 2014
Bridgeport, CT (Dec. 11, 2014) – The Electrophysiology team in the Joel E. Smilow Heart Institute at Bridgeport Hospital performed its first Lariat procedure Nov. 25 to prevent strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib). The minimally invasive procedure involves closing off the left atrial appendage of the heart (LAA) with a lasso suture. The first patient was a 79-year-old woman from Milford who was discharged just two days after the procedure.
“Patients with AFib are five times more likely to suffer a stroke due to blood clots in the LAA,” explained Murali Chiravuri, MD, PhD, who performed the hospital’s first Lariat procedure with the assistance of fellow cardiac electrophysiologist Robert Winslow, MD.
The LAA is a small pouch on the left atrium of the heart. During AFib, the irregular rhythm of the heart causes blood to pool in the LAA, which allows clots to form. The LAA is responsible for approximately 95 percent of the clots that cause strokes in patients with AFib.
“Patients with AFib are often prescribed blood-thinning medication to reduce the likelihood of clots forming,” said Dr. Winslow. “For those unable to tolerate blood thinners, the Lariat procedure offers a highly effective alternate treatment.”
During the Lariat procedure, cardiologists use a delivery device to guide a small, pre-tied lasso suture to the LAA. The suture is tightened around the base of the LAA, permanently sealing it off from the rest of the heart. Once the LAA is sealed, blood continues to flow normally to the rest of the heart.
The procedure results in minimal discomfort to patients and helps them avoid open-heart surgery. In addition, patients do not require the frequent medical visits and blood tests they would require if they were on blood thinners.
“The Lariat procedure provides us with yet another tool to effectively treat heart conditions in a way that reduces discomfort, inconvenience and recovery time for our patients,” said Stuart Zarich, MD, chief of Cardiology at the hospital. “Patient-centered care helps drive quality and innovation.”
The Joel E. Smilow Heart Institute at Bridgeport Hospital has been a leader in innovative cardiac care for more than a half century. Other treatments for heart rhythm disorders provided by the hospital include minimally invasive catheter ablation and hybrid ablation, which combines the best approaches of medical and surgical techniques.
Part of Yale New Haven Health System, Bridgeport Hospital is a 383-bed acute care hospital (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital) serving parts of Fairfield and New Haven counties. The hospital admits more than 18,000 patients and receives more than 240,000 outpatient visits annually.
Bridgeport Hospital, part of Yale New Haven Health, is a non-profit 501-bed acute care hospital with two campuses (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale New Haven Children's Hospital). Its Bridgeport and Milford Campuses serve patients from across the region. The hospital admits more than 23,000 patients and provides nearly 350,000 outpatient treatments annually. The Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital is the only burn center in the state and one of only 64 verified burn centers in the United States. Bridgeport Hospital is committed to providing safe, compassionate and cost efficient care to its patients and the community.