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Local doctors using "Watchman" device to reduce stroke risk

Local doctors using "Watchman" device to reduce stroke risk (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Local doctors are using a new device to help prevent strokes.

The device is in use by a team at the Mercy Health Jewish Hospital and a few others in the local area.

It works in a unique way to help those who might otherwise develop a problem in the heart that leads to a higher risk of stroke.

After a stroke several years ago, Ruth Proud discovered she also had a common heart problem putting her at risk to have one again.

“I have AFIB and flutter,” said Ruth.

So, Ruth consulted with Dr. Rajinder Singh. He's one of just a handful of heart specialists in the country who are treating patients with a breakthrough device called the “Watchman.”

He showed Local 12 what it looks like once inside the heart.

“This is the sheath of the catheter that comes from the groin up, and this is the Watchman device,” said Dr. Singh.

As an animation courtesy of Boston Scientific shows, the Watchman expands to plug a pouch in the heart that shouldn't be there. That pouch raises the stroke risk.

The biggest blessing for Ruth Proud is that she says she's off medications that she has needed to prevent the clot problem in her heart.

“They said it should take care of itself now,” said Ruth.

Dr. Singh says most of those who are treated with the Watchman can stay off medications previously needed for life.

Now, this drops stroke risk in those who are appropriate candidates. Those who get off medication do stay off it for life.

It is covered under medical insurance plans, and so far, Ruth says she's had great results.

If you have questions, ask your doctor to refer you to a person that works with the electrical activity of the heart, or heart rhythm problems.

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