First in Florida: Ascension St. Vincent Riverside enrolling for new AFib trial

If you have AFib, you are 5 times more likely to have a stroke. A new device in the medical trial phase is trying to lower your risks.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — There’s an opportunity on the first coast to take part in a medical trial only offered at 20 locations around the country and one is in Jacksonville. 

Ascension St. Vincent’s is once again leading the state in Atrial Fibrillation research. 

Patients with AFib experience their heart racing at random times, tiredness, and general discomfort, but it also comes with a 5 times higher risk for strokes. 

Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of irregular heart beat effecting millions of people, and that number is only expected to increase as our population ages. 

Ascension St. Vincent’s cardiology team is a part of a groundbreaking Conform trial for a device that goes into your heart through your leg. What makes this device different from the rest is the material.

It’s what Phyllis Goodwin is thankful for.

“The way I was feeling I wanted anything to make me feel better,” Goodwin said. 

She talked to First Coast News over Zoom after a doctor’s appointment. It has been 3 weeks after the procedure. 

She was the first one in Florida to have the device put into her heart.

“I’ve been feeling good so I haven’t been having any real fast heart beats or slow heart beats. Everything seems normal,” Goodwin said. 

Dr. Anthony Magnano, Chief of Cardiology and Electrophysiology at Ascension St. Vincent’s, is one of two doctors leading the local leg of the Conform trial. 

The goal is to compare this device’s success to another device commonly used to prevent strokes in AFib patients: the Watchman. 

“It actually uses kind of a foam to create a really good seal with the device. That’s though to be it’s possible advantage,” Dr. Magnano explained about the new device. 

The Conform trial is aptly named as the device is made from a foam-like material that conforms to the shape of your heart. The company who created the devise is called Conformal.

The device is implanted through a catheter in your leg and placed in your heart.  It works like an implanted blood thinner helping prevent blood clots and strokes.

For patients who have severe reactions with those medicines, this would be a solution. Instead of thinning the blood in your entire body, the contraption focuses on your heart alone.

“These medications aren’t tolerated by certain patients. Some have either had severe bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding, falls, intercranial bleeding, and other type of events where it doesn’t really seem safe to continue them on those medications,” Magnano explained.

“Yet to take them off would be too much of a stroke risk for atrial fibrillation. So when you add all this up, we’d love to have a stroke protection strategy where we can eliminate clot formation but also not increase bleeding.”

They are enrolling up to 210 patients now. 

Call 904-308-5761 to learn if you are eligible and apply to take part.

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