New Treatment Has Delivered Strong Results for Five Patients at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi
Cardiologists at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi have introduced a new type of procedure that can significantly reduce the risk of stroke in the most vulnerable patients with atrial fibrillation, the most common form of abnormal heart rhythm, in a first for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Since introducing the innovative treatment – known as ‘left atrial appendage occlusion’ – in the summer of 2018, the hospital has treated five at-risk patients who have all recovered well.
The approach uses a minimally invasive intervention to prevent blood clots from forming in the heart of patients with atrial fibrillation. Studies have shown that 91% blood clots that cause strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation originate in a specific area of the heart (the left atrial appendage). Doctors enter the heart through a vein in the patient’s leg and implant a device to plug the area, preventing clots from forming and significantly reducing the patient’s risk of stroke.
“This is another important example of how new solutions are emerging for the treatment of the most critical, complex cases. Up until now, doctors have been limited in how they can treat the most vulnerable patients because of the potential issues that come from pharmaceutical treatments. Now, there is an innovative surgical option to complement a full treatment program,” says Dr. Khalid Al Muti, a cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
Atrial fibrillation is caused by the upper chambers of the heart generating abnormal signals that cause the heart to beat with an irregular rhythm. The most common symptoms include fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness and chest pain, and the condition also leads to a significantly increased risk of heart failure and stroke.
To reduce the risk of stroke, physicians prescribe blood thinning medication to prevent the formation of blood clots. Those medications are usually meant to be taken for life. However, these can cause side effects such as bleeding, leaving doctors with limited treatment options. By closing off the left atrial appendage of the heart, where the majority of blood clots form, the treatment enables doctors to take patients off their blood thinning medication earlier, without increasing their risk of stroke.
“Because it is a minimally invasive procedure, it takes less than an hour to perform and patients are usually home in a few days,” added Dr. Al Muti.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is currently the only facility in Abu Dhabi, and one of only two in the UAE, to offer left atrial appendage occlusion treatment through its Heart and Vascular Institute, which is a center of excellence.
The hospital has instituted a multi-disciplinary team approach to the treatment of atrial fibrillation, with a specialized clinic for atrial fibrillation patients. In addition to advanced diagnostics and treatment, physicians at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi take a holistic view of each patient’s individual case. Care teams encourage them to make positive lifestyle changes that can improve their condition and reduce the risk of developing complications.
To book an appointment at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Heart & Vascular Institute, call 800 8 CCAD (2223) or visit www.clevelandclinicabudhabi.ae .