Study Suggests Closing Left Atrial Appendage Prevents Stroke from AFib

Stroke from AFib pic
Stroke from AFib

Dr. Marc Gerdisch, co-medical director of Franciscan Health’s Heart Valve Center and senior partner at Cardiovascular Surgery Associates, possesses more than 20 years of medical experience. Active within the professional community, Dr. Marc Gerdisch has been a member of numerous organizations and currently belongs to the American College of Cardiology.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC), an organization dedicated to improving cardiovascular health, recently released the results of a new study done on patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib). Presented at the ACC’s 66th Annual Scientific Session, the study found that closing the left atrial appendage during cardiac surgery significantly reduced patients’ risk of thromboembolism, a condition that can result in a stroke.

To complete their study, researchers analyzed more than 10,500 health records from 2011 and 2012 in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Adult Cardiac Surgery Database. Among the patients that were analyzed, researchers found that roughly 37 percent had their left atrial appendage closed during a cardiac procedure. Less than two percent of these patients were later hospitalized for thromboembolism. This percentage is 40 percent lower than the 2.5 percent of individuals who experienced thromboembolism and did not have their left atrial appendage closed.

Between the two groups, patients who had their left atrial appendage closed also saw a 21 percent decrease in hemorrhagic stroke and death and a 15 percent decrease in their rate of death. Given that anywhere from 2.7 and 6.1 million individuals in America are affected by AFib, and that 90 percent of strokes among patients with AFib result from clots in the left atrial appendage, these results are promising. Based on this study, researchers believe that closing the left atrial appendage is an effective way of protecting AFib patients from these common complications.