New state of the art Cardiology Service at NUH: Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion (LAAO) | Latest news

New state of the art Cardiology Service at NUH: Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion (LAAO)

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust has started a new service, using state of the art technology to treat patients with irregular heart beat  ( Atrial Fibrillation ).

Atrial Fibrillation (AF)  is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate, affecting around 1.4 million people in the UK and are at a great risk of stroke.

This new NICE approved procedure is called Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion (LAAO). It involves closing one of the small pouch in the heart, where 90% of blood clots are formed, using a device (a Watchman or Amulet), percutaneously. It has been shown to lower the risk of stroke as much as if taking an anticoagulant (i.e. by two thirds) but it has the advantage of not increasing the long-term risk of bleeding. At present It is only approved for people at high risk of stroke who cannot take anticoagulants. This structural interventional procedure however, can only be performed in very few centres in the UK at present, due to lack of expertise, technology & funding.

Speaking on the new service, Dr Ashan Gunarathne, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, said “We are proud to offer this service at NUH. Working in close partnership with the Industry we are now able to offer this service to a very few selected patients in the Nottinghamshire this year, with the intention of expanding, in the next couple of years to cater a large proportion of patients.”

“We successfully performed this procedure on two of our patients using Watchman Device for the first time at NUH last month. I would like to thank my Cardiology Interventional team , colleagues and Cardiology management team for supporting me to make this venture a reality “

The new service is based at the Trent Cardiac Centre at City Hospital and patients will be referred to this service through directly referring patients to Dr Ashan Gunarathne who is the lead for this service provision at NUH.

More information can be found at www.watchman.com and at http://www.heartrhythmalliance.org/afa/uk/left-atrial-appendage-occlusion

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