People with atrial fibrillation are often prescribed drug thinners to prevent stroke, but a new device does the job without the side effects of medicine.
Read the full transcript »
Bill Gorman: I just came back after a month of hiking and four wheeling in Utah. Melissa Medley: Slowing down isn't an option for 72 year Bill Gorman; he was scared he might have to when he was diagnosed with arterial fibrillation and a irregular heartbeat. Bill Gorman: I thought oh, my goodness. What is going to happen to me? Melissa Medley: It can cause blood clots in a pouch attached to the left atrium that can lead to a stroke. James Irwin: It is estimated that 40% of the strokes in elderly patients are because of the arterial fibrillation. Melissa Medley: Blood thinners like Coumadin are often prescribed, but require constant monitoring to little increases the chance of stroke too much can cause bleeding. James Irwin: It makes day-to-day life very difficult and potentially dangerous. Melissa Medley: This device makes free some patients from those drugs. A fabric covered middle cage is threaded through a catheter in the groin into the heart. It blocks the pouch where the clot could form. James Irwin: Over time scar tissue will form over that wall and completely excluding the left arterial appendage from the rest of the left atrium. Female Speaker: In a trial, it reduces the risk of stroke and death by more than 30%. 87% of patients stopped using blood thinners, Bill was one of them. Bill Gorman: It feels wonderful to be off of Coumadin. Female Speaker: Drug free, worry free and ready for life's next adventure. I am Melissa Medley reporting.