Patients with atrial fibrillation have an increased risk of stroke. The risk depends on other illnesses that patients have and can be up to 10 times higher than people without atrial fibrillation. Therefore, patients with atrial fibrillation, depending on the risk, have to permanently take anticoagulation therapy (novel oral anticoagulants or warfarin) in order to reduce the risk of stroke.
However, a small quantity of patients have experienced significant bleeding before or after starting anticoagulation therapy (primarily, intracranial and major non-preventable gastrointestinal bleeding).
With these atrial fibrillation patients, as a method of reducing stroke risk, left atrial appendage occlude could be used. Left atrial appendage is the area where clots occur during atrial fibrillation which are the source of systemic thromboembolism including stroke. With a special device (Figure 1) that “closes” the appendage and excludes it from the circulation, the risk of thromboembolism and stroke is significantly reduced, and after a certain period of time anticoagulation therapy is discontinued, consequently reducing the risk of bleeding.