DELRAY BEACH — Delray Medical Center is the first hospital in South Florida to offer a newly-approved device that can prevent or reduce the risk of strokes.
The Amplatzer PFO Occluder, a St. Jude Medical heart device, is used to reduce the risk of recurring ischemic strokes, caused by blood clots passing between the heart chambers and up to the brain.
A birth defect can often cause a hole in the heart, known as a patent foramen ovale, or PFO. The hole allows clots to pass through and travel to the brain, causing, in many cases, multiple strokes.
The AMPLATZER PFO Occluder, a result of 13 years of clinical research, is designed to seal the unwanted hole and reduce this risk, according to Delray Medical Center.
The device was implanted for the first time at Delray Medical Center in early November. A 39-year-old West Palm Beach woman who had recurring strokes was the patient, according to hospital officials.
“Delray Medical Center is proud to be the first hospital in the state to implant this revolutionary device,” Mark Bryan, the hospital’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We make it a priority to invest in new technology that may ultimately prolong patients’ lives and enhance their quality of life.”
The procedure to implant the device is minimally invasive and performed while the patient is sedated yet conscious.
People who have a stroke have a 25 to 35 percent chance of having another one, said Dr. Brijeshwar Maini, interventional cardiologist and regional medical director of transcatheter therapies for Tenet Healthcare’s Florida Region.
“(A recurring stroke) often has a higher death and disability rate because parts of the brain are already injured,” Maini said. “We are pleased to have a new procedure available at Delray Medical Center that can minimize that risk and potentially save many lives.”