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Aurora St. Luke's physicians first in Wisconsin to implant device designed to reduce strokes

Monday, May 16, 2011

Procedure part of clinical trial aimed at patients with heart arrhythmia's

Milwaukee, Wis. - Jasbir Sra, MD, and Tanvir Bajwa, MD, implanted a new device Thursday in a patient's heart that may reduce strokes in individuals suffering from atrial fibrillation, a common heart arrhythmia. A first for Wisconsin, this minimally invasive procedure was part of a clinical trial taking place at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center.

Developed by Atritech, Inc., the device is designed to eliminate the use of blood thinners in patients suffering from atrial fibrillation, a condition that increases the risk of stroke because of blood clots. Currently, blood thinners like warfarin or Coumadin, which are used to prevent clotting, present health risks themselves and impact a patient's quality of life - particularly in patients over the age of 65.

The new device, known as the Watchman, is implanted via catheter into the left atrial appendage of the heart, a location where it is thought that most blood clots originate in patients with atrial fibrillation. The device closes off this appendage, which prevents blood clots from escaping and entering the blood stream.

Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center is the only health care provider in Wisconsin participating in the PREVAIL clinical trial, which will continue for the next five years.

The placement of these devices requires cooperation and collaboration between multiple specialties and caregivers, and marks a potential new era in the treatment of patients with atrial fibrillation.

Aurora St Luke's Medical Center is well-suited to use this type of novel therapy because of expertise in all the areas required to provide it, including the departments of clinical research, cardiology, electrophysiology and echocardiography.

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve health care quality. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

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Contact: Myrle Croasdale
Phone: 414-299-1691

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