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New Trial Studies Link Between Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation
Date:12/7/2010

uous heart rhythm monitoring and the device is compatible for use in an MRI environment."

Ambrose, a Chicago resident, was identified by Bernstein as a cryptogenic stroke patient and ultimately became the first subject implanted by Passman with the cardiac monitoring device at Northwestern Memorial. Each day, he uses a handheld Patient Assist Device to monitor if the implanted monitor has recorded any abnormalities. "I hold it against the chest where the implant is; a beep goes off and it says 'okay,'" explained Ambrose. "If anything else comes up, then another instrument reports the results over the phone, or I can call the doctor."  

While atrial fibrillation has not been detected since Ambrose was implanted, he finds comfort from the device. "Any kind of evidence to where the stroke was coming from was good to me," Ambrose said.  "Every day it beeps okay, so it's a confirmation. It keeps me in the eyes of the doctors, and keeps them checking and investigating."

When atrial fibrillation is detected in a patient following stroke, anticoagulant therapy is recommended for secondary stroke prevention. While anticoagulant therapy can be successful in preventing future stroke, physicians do not use it proactively unless atrial fibrillation has been detected because of potential risk from the medication and complexity of the treatment.

"If we can monitor more cryptogenic stroke patients for atrial fibrillation beyond the standard month, we may have the opportunity to uncover the cause of more strokes," said Bernstein. "This has the potential to expand proactive stroke prevention to more patients and avert secondary events."

Northwestern Medicine researchers are currently seeking additional subjects for enrollment in the CRYSTAL AF trial. To learn more about the study, call 312-695-3264.

Bernstein and Passman are paid consultants and speakers for Medtronic.  


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SOURCE Northwestern Memorial Hospital
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