Bandar Seri Begawan - A number of cardiac patients in Brunei suffer from a heart rhythm disorder known as atrial fibrillation - this is when the atrium (or upper chamber of the heart) contracts in an irregular fashion.
The biggest concern in such patients is that sometimes clots can form in the left atrium of the heart which may then break off and damage the organs in the body, depending on where the clot lodges. In many instances, these clots can lodge in the brain and cause strokes.
The usual treatment for patients suffering from atrial fibrillation would be to take anti-coagulant medication on a long-term basis to prevent the formation of clots.
However, the problem would arise in specific patients who cannot take these medications because of pregnancy or other medical conditions which can increase the risk of bleeding.
For such patients, one new treatment available is the implantation of a mechanical device in the left atrium to capture clots and prevent them from escaping into the circulation.
On Oct 21, doctors from Gleneagles JPMC successfully performed an implantation of the Watchman Device (see figure 1) in one such patient. Dato Dr Razali Omar of the Institut Jantung Negara (UN) of Malaysia and Dr Patrick Ang successfully carried out the procedure, the first of its kind in Brunei on a 75-year-old gentleman with atrial
Dr Ang said, "Patients who suffer from atrial fibrillation and can not take warfarin will have higher risk of stroke. Previously the patients had no other treatment choice but to live in fear of a catastrophic stroke. This procedure can offer this selected group of patients protection from stroke."--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin