Health Beat: Catching clots: Saving A-fib patients
In 2014, 500,000 people will be told they have atrial fibrillation. In simple terms, it's an irregular heartbeat.
A-fib 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," said Paul Burris, who is ready for a change. "I couldn't participate in sports. Even walking was real painful for me."
Burris 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,'" Burris explained.
Then, Burris became one of the first to try out the cardiac plug.
Dr. Christian Machado, an electrophysiologist, 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," said Machado, medical director of electrophysiology services and arrhythmia device clinic, Providence Hospital.
The plug collects any loose clots and reduces the risk of stroke. It's changed Burris' 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."
Machado said the plug has worked in every single patient he's tried it on without complications. So far, that is seven patients.
Copyright 2014 WFMZ. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Berks man dies in accident after hitting tree, overturning vehicle
Berks man charged in theft of millions in public money
Woman killed, 2 others injured in crash that closed Pa. Turnpike
Deadly pedestrian accident investigated as hit-and-run, police say
Phillipsburg band teacher arrested, charged for taping student
Allentown teacher dies in motorcycle accident
Womelsdorf man struck, killed trying to cross Route 422
PPL proposes new 725-mile regional transmission line
Mom charged in case of baby found in trash bag
Life Lessons: Fatal foods for Fido