February 17, 2022

AZ Business Magazine

Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital introduces new option for treating AFib

Doctors at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital have successfully performed their first procedures using a recently-approved device for patients at risk for ischemic stroke due to atrial fibrillation (AFib). Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital is the first facility in Phoenix that will commercially offer the Amulet device as an option for treating AFib.

People with AFib are at risk for blood clots leaving the heart’s left atrial appendage, which may lead to stroke. The new Amplatzer Amulet Left Atrial Appendage (LAA) Occluder uses dual-seal technology to seal the LAA, alleviating the need for blood-thinning medication following the procedure.

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AFib occurs when the upper chambers of the heart beat out of sync with the lower chambers and contract rapidly and irregularly – also known as irregular heartbeat. Blood thinners are typically prescribed to prevent blood clots.

“In some people with AFib, the left atrial appendage – a small, naturally occurring pocket connected to the upper left chamber of the heart – can allow blood to pool and increase the likelihood of clot formation, which can travel to the brain and cause a stroke,” explained Dr. Akash  Makkar, who performed the first Amulet procedure at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital.

“We are pleased to be able to offer another option at for treating Afib patients who may be candidates for this new device,” said Dr. Makkar. “With February being American Heart Month, it’s exciting to introduce this treatment option at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital.”

Amulet received FDA approval in 2021 and has a wide range of sizes for different patient anatomies. It is also repositionable to help ensure optimal placement during the minimally invasive procedure. Several cardiologists at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital will be offering the device as an option for appropriate patients.

Before the device’s approval, the only minimally invasive option for LAA occlusion for U.S. physicians and their patients offered a single component to seal the LAA, and requires blood-thinning drugs during healing and additional patient monitoring to ensure closure, according to Dr. Makkar.

Heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death for men and women in the United States.

“Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital has a long history of using advanced technology for treating heart and vascular conditions,” said Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital President Phil Fitzgerald. “We are excited to kick off the new year and Heart Month with a new, minimally invasive treatment option to help AFib patients address their risk of ischemic stroke.”

Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital opened in 1998 as one of the first hospitals in the country dedicated to treating patients with heart disease. In 2019, it became the first hospital in the western U.S. with American College of Cardiology accreditation for treatment of chest pain, cardiac catheterization, heart failure and atrial fibrillation.

For more information on cardiovascular services available at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital, visit AbrazoHealth.com.