Kentucky atrial fibrillation (AFib) patients, do you know the shape of your left atrial appendage? It could make a difference in your life expectancy.

The left atrial appendage is an area of the heart in which blood clots are highly likely to form in atrial fibrillation patients. These clots could lead to strokes.

How Is Atrial Appendage Shape Relevant?

Andrea Natale, MD, of the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute in Austin, Texas, and his colleagues used CT and MR imaging to identify four distinct shapes of the atrial appendage:

  • Cactus—a dominant central lobe with secondary lobes extending up and down
  • Chicken Wing—a dominant lobe with a bend in the middle
  • Windsock—a dominant lobe with various secondary or tertiary lobes extending from it
  • Cauliflower—a variable number of small lobes without a dominant lobe

Natale and his group discovered that patients with a chicken wing-shaped atrial appendage are 79 percent less likely to suffer a stroke or a TIA (transient ischemic attack, or “mini-stroke”) than those with the other three shapes. Their findings were reported in the August 7, 2012 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The research showed that the other three atrial appendage shapes were four to eight times more likely to be associated with a stroke or TIA.

Louisville AFib patients should be able to find out the shape of their atrial appendage from their doctor. You should also discuss any complications with your anticoagulant. If you have experienced uncontrollable bleeding from taking Pradaxa, contact the Louisville Pradaxa complications attorneys at Gray and White Law. Call us at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456 and set up a FREE, no-obligation, confidential consultation.

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