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​​​​​​​​​​​The Joint Heart Care Team of Marshfield Clinic and Ministry Health Care have performed the groundbreaking new LARIAT procedure on two patients at risk for stroke. Both patients were discharged from Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield on Feb. 9.​

The procedure reduces the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation who are unable to take blood thinning medications. The Joint Heart Care Team is just the second in the state to perform this procedure; the first was done in Milwaukee.

"Patients who have atrial fibrillation have an abnormal heart beat, either too fast or too slow," said Dr. Milind Shah, Marshfield Clinic cardiologist on staff at Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital. "When this happens, it's harder for the heart's upper and lower chambers to work together, leading to an increased likelihood that blood will pool and dangerous clots will form."

The innovative, minimally invasive procedure uses the newly FDA-approved LARIAT Suture Delivery Device, manufactured by SentreHeart Inc., to tie off the heart's left atrial appendage (LAA). The LAA is a finger shaped pocket attached to the left upper chamber of the heart. Between 90 and 92 percent of strokes that occur due to blood clots in atrial fibrillation patients are from clots formed in the LAA.

Shah was joined by Dr. Juan Mesa, Marshfield Clinic cardiologist on staff at Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital, Dr. Charles McCauley, Marshfield Clinic echo-cardiologist on staff at Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital, and a team of Marshfield Clinic and Ministry Health Care staff, including echo-cardiology & electrophysiology, in performing the two procedures in the Catheterization Lab at Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield.

"The LARIAT procedure blocks stroke-causing blood clots from traveling to the brain," Mesa said. "Patients with atrial fibrillation are five times more likely to have a stroke, so this new therapy is a potential lifesaver for them."

View a video animation of the LARIAT procedure.

About: The Marshfield Clinic and Ministry Health Care heart care team:

The Marshfield Clinic and Ministry Health Care heart care team is a cooperative effort by two leading health care organizations working together as a single heart care program. For over 90 years, this has enabled the team to deliver the very highest level of care available in the region. It is the heart care team chosen more often than any other local program, treating the most complex cases and conducting more research into leading edge heart care treatments. These top heart specialists see patients at over a dozen locations throughout north central Wisconsin and staff advanced care and surgical centers in Marshfield and Weston. 

​​The Marshfield Clinic system provides patient care, research and education in more than 50 locations in northern, central and western Wisconsin, making it one of the largest comprehensive medical systems in the United States.

 Media Relations

John Gardner
Marshfield Clinic Health System Director of Communications
715 221-8659

Jeff Starck
Senior Media Relations Specialist - Marshfield, Eau Claire, Ladysmith, Minocqua, Neillsville, Park Falls, & Rice Lake
715 389-4978

Dan Baulch
Senior Communications
Specialist -
Beaver Dam
920 887-4152

Jim Korth
Communications Specialist – Wausau/Weston

Joe Rizzo
Director of Public Relations and Business Development –
Marshfield Medical