Research suggests that a simple operation to remove a small appendage from the heart may reduce stroke risk for patients with heart arrhythmia.
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Experts believe the appendage could trap blood in the heart chamber, increasing the risk of developing clots.
The risk is well known, and heart surgeons routinely remove the appendage.
According to McMaster University researchers in Ontario, Canada, removing a small appendage from the heart can decrease stroke risk for patients with heart arrhythmia.
The left atrial appendage, a finger-like tissue that is not used and can trap blood in the heart chambers and increase the chance of developing clots, is an unutilized, finger-like tissue. Researchers found that people with irregular heart beats, such as those who have abnormally fast or slow hearts, can reduce their risk of suffering stroke by up to a third.
Patients with arrhythmia are often prescribed blood thinners that reduce the risk of death.
Dr. Richard Whitlock, a Canadian professor of surgery and author of the study, stated that if you have atrial fibrillation, your surgeon should remove your left atrial Appendage. This is because it can form clots. This is a safe and effective way to prevent strokes, according to our trial.
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Cardiologists discuss benefits
Healthline was informed by two California cardiologists that surgeons had already closed the left atrial appendage in an effort to reduce the chance of strokes among heart patients.
Dr. Nikhil Warrier is the Orange Coast Medical Center’s medical director of electrophysiology. He said that the procedure was “a good option for closing or litigation for patients at high risk of stroke and not suitable candidates for long-term anticoagulants.”
Warrier stated that the procedure can be used to remove blood thinners completely.
Warrier stated that patients can stop using blood thinners by having their left atrial appendage surgically ligated.
Dr. Shephal Doshi is the director of cardiac electrophysiology at Providence Saint John’s Health Center, Santa Monica. He said that the removal of the appendage, which he described as an embryologic structure, has not had any adverse effects.
“When patients go for open-heart surgeries, they often ask the surgeons to close it. Doshi stated that the idea may seem like a good idea, but we have yet to prove it in a clinical study before we can start giving this treatment to patients.
It took years of trial and error to realize that the appendage was important in the formation of blood clots during atrial fibrillation. He said that if the appendage can be closed during surgery, we will recommend to patients that they do so if they have had atrial fibrillation in the past.
A quick, safe procedure
Stuart Connolly was the co-principal investigator of the study. He stated in a statement, “The results will change practice immediately, because this procedure can be simple, quick, and safe for the 15% of heart surgery patients with atrial fibrillation.” This will reduce the suffering caused by stroke.
Whitlock stated that researchers have suspected a link between blood clots & the left atrial appendage from the 1940s. This makes perfect sense.
He stated that the procedure could also be performed for patients who do not require heart surgery. This will make it easier for researchers to continue their research.
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Whitlock stated, “This is a safe and inexpensive procedure with no long-term adverse effects. The impact is long-lasting.”