For Wichitans and other heart patients in the region, more and more options are becoming available to treat various heart conditions, in part because of new technology coming onto the market and in part because of well-trained physicians in the area, say local cardiologists.
“I just kept getting short of breath and real tired, plus it felt like something was floating in my chest,” said 75-year-old Ada Wesley, who has long suffered from an irregular heartbeat. A CT scan revealed that indeed, her atrial fibrillation had gotten worse.
On Jan. 14, Wesley underwent a Lariat procedure – which has been called an innovative way to treat patients who can’t safely take blood thinners to control atrial fibrillation – at Via Christi Hospital St. Francis. She was the first of two patients there to undergo the procedure, according to hospital officials.
For the nearly 3 million Americans with atrial fibrillation, the condition causes the heart to beat too fast or too slow, making it harder for the heart to work and allowing clots to form in the left atrial appendage. With the nonsurgical Lariat treatment, two catheters are used to deliver a device that literally lassos the base of the left atrial appendage on the heart. When the lasso is tightened, the appendage is sealed, preventing blood clots from forming and reducing the potential for clots to break loose and cause a stroke.
The Lariat procedure is not currently being offered at Wesley Medical Center, according to Omar Ali, a structural cardiologist with Heartland Cardiology and medical director of the hospital’s structural heart program.
Other minimally invasive therapies that are currently being offered or will soon be available in Wichita include: