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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Device that reduces risk of strokes implanted in six patients in Dubai

The head of cardiology at Rashid Hospital said the expandable implant blocks blood clots from entering the blood stream

The device is expanded to block potential blood clots in the left atrial appendage from entering the blood stream. Dubai Health Authority
The device is expanded to block potential blood clots in the left atrial appendage from entering the blood stream. Dubai Health Authority

An implant that prevents strokes by stopping blood clots from entering the blood stream has already saved six high-risk patients in Dubai.

The Dubai Health Authority’s Heart Team announced the successful use of the minimally-invasive treatment on Tuesday.

Dr Fahad Baslaib, Head of Cardiology Department at Rashid Hospital, said the expandable implant blocked blood clots formed in the left atrial appendage – a small ear-shaped sac in the left chamber of the heart – in patients who suffer from irregular heartbeats.

He said the disease affects more than one per cent of the population and can cause brain stroke.

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“It is common among elderly patients, diabetics, hypertensive patients and patients with heart diseases," he said, adding that the risk increases among patients who have suffered from previous brain strokes.

The device works by first determining the size and shape of the sac, which is then inserted and is expanded to block off the left arterial appendage.

The implant is then unlocked from the device, which is removed leaving the implant in place, according to Dr Baslaib.

He said the procedure could be an alternative for patients who have difficulty managing blood thinning therapy.

Use of the device could become more popular in hospitals across the country, where up to 10,000 strokes are recorded every year. About 50 per cent of all stroke patients are under the age of 45.

Doctors have previously said fatty foods, drinking alcohol and smoking are triggers in an older population and unhealthy lifestyles are equally to blame for more young people in their 20s and 30s being diagnosed with hypertension - also known as high blood pressure - which makes people susceptible to strokes.

The latest data by the World Health Organisation shows that in upper middle-income countries stroke is the leading cause of death, followed by heart disease.

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