Sunrise Health
December 08, 2020

Today, Niuton Koide, MD, FACC, board certified electrophysiologist, Jeffrey Levisman, MD, FACC, FSCAI, board certified interventional cardiologist along with Alfred Danielian, MD, FACC, FASE, board certified in cardiovascular disease performed MountainView Hospital and the state’s first implant of the latest generation left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) device on a patient with atrial fibrillation (AFib). The hospital is one of only a handful in the country to offer the newest device as an alternative to the lifelong use of warfarin, or blood thinner for people with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem, also known as non-valvular AFib.

Those living with Afib, typically have an increased risk of stroke. An estimated six million Americans are affected by AFib – an irregular heartbeat that feels like a quivering heart. People with AFib have a five times greater risk of stroke than those with normal heart rhythms. This new device closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA) to keep harmful blood clots that can form in the LAA from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking warfarin.

“The device is a novel alternative for patients with non-valvular AFib at risk for a stroke, especially those with a compelling reason not to be on blood thinners,” said Dr. Danielian, Medical Director of Echocardiography and Director of Sports Cardiology at Las Vegas Heart Associates. “The team at Las Vegas Heart Associates is proud to have performed the first implant of this device in the state as it offers another patient potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment,” said Dr. Levisman, Chief of Cardiology and the Medical Director of Transcatheter Valve Replacement (TAVR) Program at MountainView Hospital.

This particular device has been implanted in more than 100,000 patients worldwide and is done in a one-time, minimally invasive procedure. It is a permanent device that cannot be seen outside the body. The procedure is done under general anesthesia and takes about an hour to complete. Patients commonly stay in the hospital overnight and leave the next day.

“People with atrial fibrillation are at significant risk of stroke,” said Dr. Koide, Medical Director of Electrophysiology at MountainView Hospital. Dr. Koide said, “With state-of-the-art medical advancements and treatments that are offered at Las Vegas Heart Associates, this new generation device can help prevent stroke. We are so proud to be the first in the state to offer this option for the community.” said Dr. Koide.

Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) is a heart condition where the upper chambers of the heart (atrium) beat too fast and with irregular rhythm (fibrillation). AFib is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, currently affecting more than six million Americans. Twenty percent of all strokes occur in patients with AFib, and AFib related strokes are more frequently fatal and disabling. The most common treatment to reduce stroke risk in patients with AFib is blood-thinning warfarin medication. Despite its proven efficacy, long-term warfarin medication is not well-tolerated by some patients and carries a significant risk for bleeding complications. Nearly half of AF patients eligible for warfarin are currently untreated due to tolerance and adherence issues.

To learn more about the practice and physicians, please visit Las Vegas Heart Associates.