STEUBENVILLE, Ohio —
Trinity Health System is pleased to announce the next phase in the expansion of its structural heart program: the introduction of the Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion (LAAO) procedure for patients who are looking for an alternative to blood thinners in treating Atrial Fibrillation (AFib).
“We are making history,” stated Dr. Gregory Suero Abreu, Medical Director of Invasive Cardiology for Trinity Health System.
“At Trinity Health System, with the support of CommonSpirit Health, we continue to achieve our goal of delivering novel technologies and treatments with the highest quality and care. Adding left atrial appendage occlusion to our armamentarium of structural heart therapies will allow our patients to get the care they need closer to home, avoiding the need to drive long distances to receive the required treatment,” said Suero Abreu.
“We understand that patients want to be close to home for their care,” Kelly Bettem, Cardiovascular Service Line Director, added saying, “By now offering the LAAO procedures at Trinity Health System, we are able to offer another level of care without leaving the Ohio Valley.”
Up to six million people are living with AFib in the United States. Their risk of stroke is five times that of people without atrial fibrillation. Blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) are commonly prescribed to prevent stroke. But, not all patients can tolerate blood thinners long-term.
“With the addition of Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion to the cardiovascular therapies we currently offer, Trinity Health System has once again shown its commitment to providing state of the art cardiovascular care to the patients within our ministry,” Dr. Triston Smith, Medical Director, Cardiovascular Service Line & Structural Heart Interventions and Co Chair Structural Heart Clinical Council, National Cardiovascular Service Line, CommonSpirit Health, said. “We are always seeking to innovate and deliver therapies to patients that offer tangible quality-of-life benefits. While over the past two years many hospitals have been cutting back on services, Trinity Health System has made the decision to expand, because we recognize the need to do so and understand the huge benefits such expansion offers to our patients. We look forward to continuing to serve our patients with the Humankindness that underpins the core beliefs of our ministry.”
The LAAO device is implanted in the heart using methods less invasive than open heart surgery. The implant is about the size of a quarter and is designed to seal off the Left Atrial Appendage. With more than 20,000 procedures performed worldwide, the LAAO procedure has a proven record of safety, reducing strokes and eliminating the need for blood thinners after six weeks. LAAO helps prevent strokes by closing the source
of more than 90% of stroke-causing blood clots that come from the heart. Patients are usually sent home the following day.
The LAAO procedure is for patients who:
• Have non-valvular atrial fibrillation
• Have a history of bleeding (gastrointestinal, urinary, nosebleeds)
• Have a history of falling
• Have poor compliance taking blood thinners
• Inability or difficulty maintaining a therapeutic range
• Occupation/lifestyle with increased bleeding risk
• Intolerance of blood thinners
Dr. Triston Smith, Medical Director, Cardiovascular Service Line & Structural Heart Interventions and Co-chair Structural Heart Clinical Council, National Cardiovascular Service Line, CommonSpirit Health, and Dr. Gregory
Suero Abreu, Medical Director of Invasive Cardiology, will be performing the procedure for Trinity Health System, while Dr. John Schirger, heart failure specialist and Director for the Hope for Heart Failure Clinic at the health system, will assess patients for suitability of the procedure from a clinical perspective.
“The fact that Trinity Health System can offer an option for those with AFib needing protection from clot and stroke, but otherwise at risk for bleeding with blood thinners, is a tremendous service to our community,” said Dr. John Schirger, Heart Failure Specialist and Director of the Hope for Heart Failure Clinic.