Irregular heartbeat device 'could be more cost-effective than medication'

20 June 2016

Treating irregular heart rhythms with a catheter-delivered device could be a more cost-effective option than using medication.

This is according to a new Yale University study, which affirmed the benefits of the Watchman device, designed to be permanently implanted in the opening of the left atrial appendage.

For this study, researchers developed a statistical model based on data from two key research trials, known as PROTECT AF and PREVAIL. While results from the trials varied, the device appeared to be more cost-effective in the larger longer-term trial.

Dr James Freeman, assistant professor of cardiology at Yale University and first author on the paper, said: "The PROTECT AF trial enrolled more patients and has longer follow-up at this time, and this allows greater statistical certainty. Based on that, the study may provide more certainty in terms of cost-effectiveness."

Watchman is designed to aid patients with atrial fibrillation who are at risk of blood clots forming in the left atrial appendage, which can then get into the bloodstream and cause a stroke.

Once the device is in place in the opening of the left atrial appendage, a thin layer of tissue grows over it, preventing blood clots from forming and therefore reducing the risk of stroke.

Posted by Edward Bartel


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