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article imageAnti-stroke device in development

By Tim Sandle     Dec 15, 2013 in Health
A device called the Watchman is in development. This is an implant designed to minimize the effect of strokes on the heart.
The device has been developed by Boston Scientific Corp. The device is implanted on the heart to prevent stroke in patients with a dangerous cardiac rhythm known as atrial fibrillation. According to Controlled Environments it was developed as an alternative to clot-preventing blood thinners.
People with atrial fibrillation, the most common type of arrhythmia, are five times more likely to suffer a stroke than those without the condition. It affects nearly 3 million people in the U.S. Arrhythmia s a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm.
At the moment the device is pending review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If approved, the device could spare heart patients a lifetime of taking anticoagulant drugs, such as warfarin, that carry a high risk of bleeding.
The company Boston Scientific acquired the Watchman device when it bought the start-up company Atritech in March 2011. The device has been on the market in Europe since 2005. However, the FDA have asked for additional tests before the device can be considered for the U.S. market.
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