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First in Pennsylvania to implant the only FDA-approved device designed to prevent blood clots from entering the brain by sealing a hole in the heart

Lancaster General Hospital (LGH) is now offering a newly-approved device designed to help reduce the risk of recurrent ischemic strokes in patients diagnosed with a patent foramen ovale (PFO) – a small opening between the upper chambers of the heart.

The AMPLATZER™ PFO Occluder is the first and only FDA-approved device designed to close the PFO and lower the risk of stroke caused by dangerous clots passing between the heart chambers and up to the brain. LGH was the first hospital in Pennsylvania to implant the device since the product’s approval.

Normally in a developing fetus, the foramen ovale allows oxygenated blood from the placenta to bypass the lungs. This small, flap-like opening typically closes shortly after birth. When this flap remains open, or “patent,” it is referred to as a PFO. A PFO can potentially allow dangerous clots to pass from the right side of the heart to the left, travel up to the brain and cause a stroke. The AMPLATZER PFO Occluder is designed to seal the unwanted hole and reduce this risk.

“This innovative technology allows us reduce the risk of subsequent strokes for patients with a PFO, many of whom never knew they had the condition prior to suffering a stroke,” said Dr. Rahul Jhaveri, an interventional cardiologist with The Heart Group of Lancaster General Health. “We’re fortunate to be able to offer the benefits of this device, the only one approved by the FDA, to our community.”

It is estimated that twenty-five percent of adults have a PFO, which is often not detected until they have a cryptogenic stroke (a stroke from an unknown cause). Newly released, long-term data from RESPECT, a landmark clinical trial, showed that patients who received the AMPLATZER Occluder had a reduced risk of recurrent stroke by 45% over guideline-directed medical therapy alone.

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