East-Tallinn Central Hospital Center of Cardiology executed a new treatment procedure on atrial fibrillation patients, firstly in Estonia

15. October 2013

On Oct 7th at East-Tallinn Central Hospital a left atrial appendage closure device was implanted during a non-surgical catheter procedure. The procedure was first in Estonia and is a new method for reducing the risk of thromboembolism in cardiac arrhythmia patients.

A new treatment procedure was executed at the Center of Cardiology East-Tallinn Central Hospital. The team behind the modern procedure included interventional cardiologists, cardiologists and an anesthesiologist. The aim of this treatment method is to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation, a common form of rhythm disturbance which is estimated to occur on 2% of the total population in Estonia.A left atrial appendage closure plug implantation

“The left atrial appendage plays an important role as a source of blood clots. In patients with atrial fibrillation, it is estimated that the clots originate in a small pouch of the left atrium, called the left atrial appendage 90% of the time,” MD Tiina Uuetoa, the head of the East-Tallinn Central Hospital Cardiology Center explained. “Atrial fibrillation increases a risk of a stroke by 5 times and usually those strokes are more severe with a 5-7% higher death rate. Placing a left atrial appendix closure device is a new and modern way to prevent a possibility of blood clots formation and thereby reducing the risk of a stroke,” MD Uuetoa added. 

Gallery of the procedure
TV news at ERR (Estonian Public Broadcasting)

The left atrial appendage closing plug is a device to prevent blood clot formation in a left atrial appendage(LAA) which is implanted through the catheter placed in femoral vein. To ensure the right diameter of the device, before and during the procedure several ultrasound measurements are conducted. Echocardiography via esophagus is done during the procedure while a patient is under general anesthesia.

This is a new procedure all over the world, whereas the first procedure of this kind was executed in 2005. Other methods for reducing the risks of thromboembolism in atrial fibrillation patients include the blood thinners (oral medication as aspirin or marevan) or the surgical excision of left atrial appendage.


Atrial fibrillation is estimated to occur in 0,4-2% of general population, while the occurrence is age-related – under 60-years old people suffer rarely ( <1%), but 80 years and older  already up to 10%. During atrial fibrillation, the heart's two upper chambers beat chaotically and irregularly - out of coordination with the two lower chambers of the heart.

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