This technique is indicated for patients with arrhythmias that cannot take anticoagulants Dr. Juan Miguel Ruiz, Head of the Interventionist Cardiology and Haemodynamic Department of the Hospital Clínica Benidorm, has for the first time in the private health sector of the Valencian Community, applied the percutaneous technique of “closure of the left atrial appendage” to…
This technique is indicated for patients with arrhythmias that cannot take anticoagulants
Dr. Juan Miguel Ruiz, Head of the Interventionist Cardiology and Haemodynamic Department of the Hospital Clínica Benidorm, has for the first time in the private health sector of the Valencian Community, applied the percutaneous technique of “closure of the left atrial appendage” to a patient with atrial fibrillation to whom the anticoagulant medication was contraindicated (the only effective medicine for this type of patients).
The left atrial appendage is a part of the heart with the shape of a small sack which is connected to the left auricular. Patients who suffer atrial fibrillation (the most common type of arrhythmias) have a high risk of formation of thrombi in this appendix which, when exiting the atrial appendage, could fundamentally obstruct the arteries of the brain producing a stroke or brain infarct.
The most common treatment to solve clots in the left atrial appendage is anticoagulant medication. But there are patients who cannot take this medication sometimes because the risk of bleeding is high due to other chronic illnesses, advanced age or even because the anticoagulants have generated haemorrhages.
Dr. Juan Miguel Ruiz Nodar has explained that “the technique of the closure of the left atrial appendage is indicated in those patients with arrhythmias that cannot take anticoagulants –such as Sintrom®- due to the risk of haemorrhaging. It has been specifically calculated that this technique could be applied to 20% of the patients who need anticoagulant treatment”.
Percutaneous advanced technique
The technique consists in accessing the appendage through the left atrium of the heart. Through an angiogram, the Hemodynamic specialist accesses and seals the appendage with a special device, closing the “sack”.
We are referring to an intervention that lasts 1 to 2 hours and requires an expert team. After 24-48 hours of hospital observation, the patient can return home completely recuperated without the need to take anticoagulant medication.
With this technique, the same benefits are achieved as with the anticoagulant medication but completely eliminate the adverse effects such as the risk of haemorrhage and major bleeding.
The first patient of the private health sector of the Valencian Community to whom this technique was applied was “a male who was taking anticoagulants for an arrhythmia but had to suspend them because they provoked an extremely serious intracranial bleed”, explained Dr. Ruiz Nodar.
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