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Catheter ablation on the left ventricle may lead to brain injury

When you are watching television, have you ever heard an ad for a prescription drug and wondered why someone would take it after hearing all of the side effects that are possible? In some cases, the benefits of the treatment far outweigh the negative side effects. Some people who get a non-medication treatment for an irregular heartbeat might have to make a benefit-risk decision because of new side effect that has come to light after catheter ablation.

Patients who have catheter ablation on the left side of the heart are at risk of brain lesions. There is a chance that the lesions might lead to cognitive decline. The issue that can lead to the lesion is an embolism, which would travel to the brain from the left side of the heart. When the procedure is done on the right side of the heart, the embolism would move toward the lungs.

There are approximately 235,000 catheter ablations performed in this country each year. In the procedure, a catheter uses extreme cold or heat to destroy the tissues that are responsible for causing the irregular heartbeat.

In a study of only 18 patients, it was found that of the 12 who had left ventricular ablation, seven had a combined total of 16 embolisms to the brain. Of the six who had right ventricular ablation, none had a brain embolism.

When a patient suffers a brain injury and wasn't warned of the possibility, the patient might opt to seek compensation for the injury. This could help to cover the long-term medical expenses and other costs.

Source: Medical Xpress, "Therapy for abnormal heartbeats may cause brain injury," Jan. 24, 2017

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