Current Affairs
Cardiac intervention at the age of 80 to prevent suffering a stroke

At Mater Dei Hospital, in the presence of his two children Sonia and Charlene, Publius Borg appeared to be in a state of good health following a surgical cardiac intervention two days ago to prevent him suffering a stroke.

Publius is 80 years of age and suffered Atrial Fibrillation, a condition that prevents the heart from performing in a regular manner and the intervention was carried out to prevent him from the probability of suffering a stroke.

Publius said he has been given a new lease of life, that he feels very well and is deeply grateful for the treatment he received.

Dr Robert Xuereb, who is the Chairman of the Cardiological Department at Mater Dei said the condition of Atrial Fibrillation is becoming more common and increasing in the elderly but also affects people of a younger age. He said that a third of the people who suffer such a condition are at risk of suffering a stroke.

He said there may be blood clots in the heart particularly in the pouch on the left side of the heart and when these blood clots burst and spread to the brain they cause a stroke, the worst type of stroke and the most damaging.

This condition is treated with warfarin medicine that thins the blood. However, this also has side effects including bruises, nose bleeds and affects the intestines to the extent that the treatment has to be stopped in some patients and this increases the chances of suffering a stroke. However, surgical intervention that was initiated at Mater Dei four years ago is proving beneficial to such patients.

Dr Xuereb said the intervention involves entering the heart’s outer structure, from the top of the vein to reach the compartment on the right of the heart and then crossing to the left pouch, the Left Atrial Appendage. A device is then implanted, a form of a net that seals the pouch and is left there. After a few weeks this forms a lining around the heart, such as gypsum does, and seals it completely and from that point onward the patient is protected from suffering a stroke.

Dr Xuereb said this procedure has already been used on 23 patients.