News Article Title

November 26, 2012

Holy Spirit Hospital first hospital in PA to offer specialized treatment to prevent stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation

Physicians at The Ortenzio Heart Center at Holy Spirit performed Pennsylvania’s first minimally invasive procedure using the Lariat Suture Delivery Device to significantly reduce the risk of stroke in a patient suffering from atrial fibrillation. The Ortenzio Heart Center at Holy Spirit is the currently the only location in Pennsylvania where this procedure has been performed and one of just a few locations on the entire East Coast.

Drs. David Man, Safwat Gassis and Rajesh Dave, of Capital Cardiovascular Associates, performed this specialized procedure which essentially seals off the left atrial appendage—a tissue sac located in the upper portion of the heart—from the rest of the heart. “Atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, is an irregular rhythm in the top chambers of the heart that can cause blood to pool and form clots in the atrial appendage," says Stacey Solomon, RN-BC, Atrial Fibrillation Program Coordinator.

“This minimally invasive procedure will reduce the risk of stroke in our patients,” says Safwat Gassis, MD, Medical Director of the Holy Spirit Atrial Fibrillation Center. “It’s estimated that 90% of blood clots that cause stroke in patients with A-fib come from the left atrial appendage. Normally, physicians will put patients on blood thinning medications to reduce their risk of stroke; however, some patients cannot be on blood thinners for a variety of reasons.”

Previous techniques that were used to isolate the left atrial appendage from the rest of the heart required a large incision in the chest, cardiopulmonary bypass, or metal clips or implants, and usually a longer hospital stay. “Our patients are expected to be discharged one day after their procedure,” says Dr. Gassis.

SentreHEART, Inc., a privately held medical device company based in Redwood City, Ca., manufacturers the LARIAT Suture Delivery Device.

Approximately 3 million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation, and many more go undiagnosed. Untreated atrial fibrillation doubles the risk of death from heart-related causes, including congestive heart failure, increases the risk of stroke by 500 percent, and raises the risk of hospitalization. “Atrial fibrillation can also lead to severe or debilitating symptoms in many people,” says David Man, MD, Director of Electrophysiology.

Capital Cardiovascular Associates provides services to diagnose and treat even the most complex cardiovascular problems. The Holy Spirit Atrial Fibrillation Center provides patients with access to state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment options for atrial fibrillation to manage symptoms as well as decrease their risk of stroke and congestive heart failure. Their offices are located at 101 Erford Road, Camp Hill; 5 Capital Drive, Harrisburg; and 1200 Forge Road, Carlisle. The phone number is 724-6450.