By Cassie Hataway | email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Doctors are testing a new device to see if it will prevent stroke in patients who are high risk. It is called the WATCHMAN® and is a filtering device that looks like a parachute. "What we've done is, we've isolated the area of the heart where we believe over 90% of the clots come from and this device is actually put in that area of the heart and seals off that area so the clots form behind it and never released into the circulation like the brain. Over a period of time, the mesh part of it just endothelializes. In other words, tissue grows over it," said Steven Almany,M.D., an interventional cardiologist. The technique is similar to angioplasty. Doctors thread a catheter through a vein in the leg to the part of the heart called the left atrial appendage. Once in place, the WATCHMAN® permanently plugs up the opening to block clots from entering the blood stream.
Research suggests the device works as well as standard therapy using Coumadin, which is a blood thinner that can have serious side effects. The device is still being tested, but company studies show that patients who received the device had a 39% less chance of dying than patients who did not.
To learn more about the WATCHMAN®, for more information clickhere. For information on the trial, or to locate a study site, go to clickhere then type the trial identification number in the search box: NCT00129545.
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