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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


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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