Best Life: Getting your heart back on beat

Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 7:51 AM CST
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Your heart beats over 100,000 times a day, pumping one and a half gallons of blood every minute.

If your heart speeds up, skips beat, or feel like it’s banging against your chest, that could be a sign of atrial fibrillation or AFib, and it could put you at risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart failure.

A new device is helping people with AFib to get their hearts back on beat.

The first time Doug Dixon experienced AFib, his heart went into an irregular heartbeat for 17 minutes. He found out when his pacemaker alerted his doctor. When this happened, Doug was at risk for a stroke.

“People are scared, they would rather die than have a stroke,” said Dr. Ruby Satpathy, Baptist Health interventional cardiologist, Dr. Ruby Satpathy emphasizes.

Dr. Satpathy was one of the first to use a new FDA device designed to treat patients who cannot use blood thinners to reduce the risk of stroke.

The Amulet LAA Occluder uses a minimally invasive procedure to seal the left atrial appendage.

“Our heart has a little appendix, just like the appendix in the belly. It’s a little pouch. That’s where blood gets in there, doesn’t move, forms clot and it goes up next time to brain and causes stroke,” said Dr. Satpathy.

The Amulet is a permanent implant that is placed in a patient’s left atrial appendage, LAA, which is a pouch-like part of the heart.

It’s like two doors being locked, preventing blood clots from entering the bloodstream.

“This prevents stroke, this reduces or eliminates bleeding because now you’re not on blood thinner, you’re only on baby aspirin,” said Dr. Sathpathy.

It worked for Doug and he’s now feeling stronger every day.

“They ask me how I’m doing, and I say, ‘Well, I’m still vertical.’ So, that’s what counts,” said Doug.

The Amulet does not cure AFib. It greatly reduces the risk of stroke and bleeding. Patients will still need to monitor their a-fib after receiving the amulet.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer & Editor.

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