LARIAT Procedure: Left Atrial Appendage Closure
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The LARIAT procedure is a minimally invasive, nonsurgical procedure that helps prevent stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib) who are unable to take blood thinning medication. AFib is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that commonly causes poor blood flow to the body, which can result in stroke. The LARIAT procedure effectively ties off the heart's left atrial appendage. The left atrial appendage is the primary source of blood clots leading to stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation.
How the LARIAT Procedure Is Performed
In the past, tying off the left atrial appendage required open-heart surgery. The LARIAT procedure gives patients a shorter hospital stay, less scarring and less pain.
This procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Cardiologists insert two catheters. The first is inserted under the patient’s rib cage and carries a LARIAT suture delivery device. The second, which is sent to the left atrial appendage, guides the device into place. The device then places a stitch around the base of the left atrial appendage, tying off the source of blood clots from the rest of the heart.
Benefits of the LARIAT procedure including the following:
- Decreased risk of stroke
- Shorter recovery time
- Fewer complications
- Minimal discomfort from the procedure
- Decreased medical visits and blood tests after the procedure
Houston Methodist is among a few hospital systems worldwide offering the LARIAT procedure to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with AFib who are unable to take blood-thinning medication.