Thursday, January 10, 2013

KU Hospital offers Minimally-Invasive “LARIAT” Procedure to reduce stroke risk

The University of Kansas Hospital is the first heart facility in the Midwest, and one of the first in the United States, to offer a new innovative solution for people at risk for stroke.

The hospital’s award-winning team of heart doctors is utilizing the new LARIAT procedure, a minimally-invasive alternative for people who cannot tolerate blood thinners.

For patients with atrial fibrillation, it can virtually eliminate their risk for stroke, which is five times more likely in those patients, according to cardiologists.

To solidify the hospital’s leadership role in cardiology, a group of its cardiologists is organizing its first international conference in Kansas City, Mo. to educate doctors on various heart technologies, speak about their experiences with LARIAT and demonstrate the procedure to an international gathering of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals at the Intercontinental Hotel, 401 Ward Parkway, on March 1-2.

The highlight of the conference will be a live streaming video of a LARIAT procedure as well as several other heart procedures from the hospital’s operating room to the hotel. Click on for more information on the event.

“The LARIAT is a tool, like a lasso, which is inserted through a puncture in the chest,” said Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, M.D., an electrophysiologist at The University of Kansas Hospital, who has performed several of the new procedures.

“This lasso is a suture, or a stitch, that comes around the left atrial appendage, which is a part of the heart where blood clots and strokes come from. And it just closes it off, so blood clots can’t form and strokes can’t happen anymore.”

Dr. Lakkireddy says patients who qualify won’t have to endure open-heart surgery, and they can often go home the next day with just a band aid on their chest.

Atrial fibrillation is a condition where a rapid and irregular heart beat can cause serious complications, including stroke, heart failure and early death.

Some people with this condition have no symptoms and are unaware of their condition until it’s discovered during a physical examination. Those who do have symptoms may experience palpitations or sensations of racing, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain or lightheadedness.

Atrial fibrillation-related deaths have increased over the past two decades and now account for one fourth of all strokes in the elderly.