Sharp Memorial Hospital made history on Tuesday becoming the first hospital west of the Mississippi River to implant an “investigational device” designed to keep blood clots in the heart from causing strokes.
The Amplatzer Amulet device (pictured above), or Amulet, blocks blood clots from forming in the left atrial appendage, a common location where stroke-causing blood clots form.
The device is inserted into the heart via catheter through a major vein near the groin. Once in place, doctors are able to open the device, similar to an umbrella, preventing blood from entering the left atrial appendage and stopping blood clots from escaping.
Eighty-five-year-old Donna Rose of Clairemont Mesa had the device installed as part of a national clinical trial evaluating the safety and performance of the Amulet in patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib). AFib is a common condition that leads to an irregular heartbeat that can cause blood to gather in the heart and form clots, which can then make their way to the brain and block blood flow.
Sharp Memorial interventional cardiologist Dr. Raghave Gollapudi, the doctor who performed the procedure on Rose, said that the grandmother of three was a perfect candidate.
Rose was prescribed blood thinners to control her risk of stroke-causing blood clots, but suffered a severe gastrointestinal bleed. Amulet will allow Rose, and five million other Americans living with AFib, to stop taking risky blood-thinning medication.
Sharp Memorial and 100 other hospitals in the country are participating in the clinical trial. The device has been approved for use in Europe since 2013.