Ravi Kanagala, MD; Jay Silverstein, MD, Gretchen Brower, RN; Jay Silverstein, MD; Hamid Salam, MD; and Omer Iftikhar, MD.

Lakeview Regional Medical Center, a campus of Tulane Medical Center, is the first hospital on the Northshore to offer an implant to reduce the risk of stroke for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.

According to the American Heart Association, at least 2.7 million Americans are affected by atrial fibrillation (AFib), an irregular heartbeat that feels like a quivering heart. Those with AFib are more likely to suffer a stroke because of blood clots that can form in the left atrial appendage of the heart and travel to the brain.

Left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) is a treatment strategy to reduce the risk of these clots entering the bloodstream. During the procedure, a quarter-sized implant is inserted into the heart via a flexible tube inserted in a leg vein. Once the position is confirmed, the device is permanently placed in the heart, much like a heart stent. Typical recovery is 24 hours.

“This stroke risk reduction technology is an alternative to long-term blood thinning medications,” says Ravi Kanagala, MD, Lakeview Regional Medical Center cardiologist. “This technology may help us to help treat more patients safely and effectively with successful long-term outcomes.”

Lakeview Regional Medical Center has been performing this procedure since April. Get more information on structural heart procedures.