According to a recent Sci-Tech Daily article, a simple procedure could significantly reduce the risk of stroke in patients with heart arrhythmia. Researchers at McMaster University found that removing the left atrial appendage reduces the risk of stroke by more than a third. The left atrial appendage is an unused finger-shaped tissue that’s leftover from when the heart is formed as an embryo. It has a tendency to trap blood and form clots.
The team’s study tracked more than 4,800 people in 27 countries who are living with atrial fibrillation and taking blood thinners. Consenting patients undertaking cardiopulmonary bypass surgery were chosen at random to also have their left atrial appendage removed. Those who received the extra procedure were about a third less likely to suffer a stroke within the 4-year period of monitoring.