Atrial Fibrillation (AF) and Stroke
Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disturbance. There are seventy thousand people with AF in the HK.
Atrial fibrillation makes your risk of a stroke five times higher.
When your heart beats normally, its muscle walls squeeze (contract) to force blood out of the heart and around the body.
If you have atrial fibrillation, your heartbeat is irregular and fast, your heart may not have a chance to empty properly before filling up with blood again. Blood can collect inside the upper chamber of the left side of the heart, and this increases the risk of blood clots forming.
If blood clots form in your heart, there is a risk they can travel in your bloodstream towards your brain. If a clot blocks one of the arteries leading to your brain, it could cause a stroke. About 90% of the blood clots that cause stroke are also formed in the left atrial appendage(LAA). Stroke prevention is the most important part of atrial fibrillation treatment.
This procedure is performed under general anesthesia or monitored anesthetic care monitored by an anesthetist.
Placement of the occluder will be performed by cardiologists experienced in intervention for structural heart diseases. This procedure will be performed in a well-equipped Cardiac Catheterization & Intervention Laboratory (CCIL) guided by fluoroscopy and transesophageal echocardiography (TEE).
A small wound is made over the groin for access to your vein. Catheters are advanced to the heart. The septum separating the left and right atrium is punctured by a special needle under echocardiographic guidance. Appropriate size of LAAO device will be chosen and deployed according to the repeated measurement over your LAA by echocardiographic and fluoroscopic assessment.