On April 26 2013, for the first time in Greece, we performed an operation for atrial fibrillation stroke prevention. The procedure is called “percutaneous left atrial appendage occlusion” and a special device is used. The 76-year-old patient who underwent the operation has atrial fibrillation and suffered a transient ischemic attack despite the fact he was treated with oral anticoagulants. Due to several comorbidities and persistent atrial fibrillation he was in risk of suffering another stroke, which in these cases is usually severe. The operation was performed in the Cath Lab and the Amplatzer Amulet TM device was percutaneously implanted in the left atrial appendage, which is the most common source of thrombi that cause stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation.
The procedure, which lasted 2 hours, was performed at Interbalkan European Medical Center, Thessaloniki. There were no complications and the patient was discharged the following day.
Atrial fibrillation is one of the most common cardiac arrhythmias, especially in the elderly. It should be noted that, for the moment, the standard treatment for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation is anticoagulants. Percutaneous left atrial appendage occlusion is performed only when the patient cannot receive anticoagulants (i.e. due to hemorrhage, risk of falling, blood disorders etc.) or when these drugs are not fully effective.