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Question:

What is the complication rate for the Lariat procedure, and how dangerous is it?

I am in persistent Afib and due to a history of GI bleeds (diverticulosis), I cannot tolerate an anticoagulant. I am considering the Lariat procedure. What is the complication rate for the procedure and how dangerous is it?  Thanks! 

submitted by Sherry from Warren, Texas on 12/16/2012

Answer:

William E. Cohn, MDby Texas Heart Institute cardiovascular surgeon, William E. Cohn, MD  

Hi Sherry... the complication rate is extremely low for the LARIAT procedure. In over 1000 cases, we have had 9 patients that have had to undergo conversion to an open surgical procedure. In 6 cases, it was because the right ventricle was injured during catheter insertion, in 1 case the left atrium was injured, and in 2 cases, the LARIAT couldn't be removed after the procedure was complete. We also have occasional left pleural effusions after the procedure...that's when fluid slowly accumulates between the left lung and the heart. This happens in 3% or so of cases, and occasionally has to be drained out with a needle. As procedures go, we think it is one of the safest. That said, there is a learning curve, so have the procedure performed by someone with a number of cases under their belt. I hope this helps.   

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Updated December 2012
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Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
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