HealthWatch: Catching Clots: Saving A-Fib Patients

Published 02/02 2014 08:55PM

Updated 02/11 2014 06:42PM

Catching Clots: Saving A-Fib Patients

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - In 2014, half a million people will be told they have atrial fibrillation. In simple terms, it's an irregular heartbeat. AFib can set off a stroke, but now a new device is helping catch the clots before they kill.

"I'm not afraid to take a chance," Paul Burris told Ivanhoe.

Paul is ready for a change.

"I couldn't participate in sports. Even walking was real painful for me," Paul said.

Paul lives with an irregular heartbeat. He took blood thinners to prevent clots, but they also prevented him from enjoying the things he loves, especially his grandchildren.

"Their parents are constantly yelling 'don't do that because you're going to bruise grandpa. You know he bruises easy,'" Paul explained.

Then, Paul became one of the first to try out the cardiac plug.

Electrophysiologist Christian Machado is the first heart care expert in the nation to treat patients with it for a new FDA trial.

"It's almost like a filter, or an umbrella filter, that is deployed in the left atrial appendage, which is the area of the heart that collects clots in patients with atrial fibrillation," Christian Machado, MD, F.A.C.C., F.H.R.S., and F.A.H.A, Medical Director of Electrophysiology Services and Arrhythmia Device Clinic, Providence Hospital, told Ivanhoe.

The plug collects any loose clots and reduces the risk of stroke. It's changed Paul's life.

"The biggest part of it is being able to play with my grandchildren," he said. "That was the greatest gift that they've given me."

Dr. Machado says the plug has worked in every single patient he's tried it on, without complications. So far that is seven patients.



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