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Providence 1st in U.S. to Use New Cardiac Device for Stroke Prevention

Providence Hospital: Southfield
Cardiac Care, Neuroscience, Stroke
Monday, March 11, 2013


Providence 1st in U.S. to Use New Cardiac Device for Stroke Prevention

Contact: Brian Taylor, 586-753-0726.

Southfield, Mich.- Heart care experts at Providence Hospital are the first in the nation to treat patients as part of a randomized clinical trial of an experimental device aimed at preventing strokes in people with an irregular heartbeat. The first two patients were treated on February 20, by Christian Machado, M.D., director of electrophysiology at the Providence Hospital Heart Institute.

Known as the St. Jude Medical AMPLATZER Cardiac Plug™, the device works like a plug to block and close off the left atrial appendage, the primary source of blood clots leading to stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. AF is the most common heart rhythm disorder.

“Atrial fibrillation is a major risk factor for stroke,” says Dr. Machado. “If this device proves to be safe and effective in reducing the incidence of stroke in AF patients, it has the potential to be a lifesaving treatment for thousands of patients.”

In the same way doctors perform balloon angioplasty to open up a blocked heart artery, the AMPLATZER Cardiac Plug is delivered to the heart via a thin flexible tube (catheter) from a tiny incision in the groin. It’s then guided into the left atrial appendage, a tube-shaped appendage connected to the left atrium of the heart. Once deployed in the LAA, it’s designed to seal off the appendage, preventing the risk of blood clot formation and release, potentially reducing the risk of stroke.

During atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart experience chaotic electrical signals and beat erratically and out of sync with the two lower chambers, resulting in poor blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body.

The left atrial appendage can potentially hold static blood during an episode of AF, increasing the likelihood of clot formation. Research shows that in AF patients, approximately 90 percent of all cardiac blood clots form in the LAA. If a clot forms in there and is then released into the heart, it may enter blood circulation, travel to the brain, block a vessel and cause a potentially deadly stroke. The current standard of care in AF patients for this type of stroke, known as an ischemic stroke, is blood-thinning medications, which comes with a lifetime of medical management and major, sometimes fatal, bleeding risks.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the number one cause of long-term disability in the U.S. People with AF are five times more likely to have a stroke than someone who doesn’t have atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is responsible for approximately 20 percent of ischemic strokes and about one-third of AF patients will have a stroke in their lifetime if not treated appropriately.

Providence 1st in U.S. to Use New Cardiac Device for Stroke Prevention  Providence 1st in U.S. to Use New Cardiac Device for Stroke Prevention

Providence Hospital is a member of the St. John Providence Health System Heart & Vascular Care Network, a leading provider of heart care in Michigan. For 11 years, Providence has been ranked as one of the top hospitals in the United States for heart care, according to an independent national study conducted by Truven Health Analytics, formerly the health care business of Thomson Reuters. Providence is also recognized as Blue Distinction Centers for Cardiac Care by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.