Iowa Heart Enrolls First Patient Into PREVAIL Study

Trial Aims to Reduce Stroke Risk for Patients with Atrial Fibrillation

June 8, 2011

DES MOINES - Mercy and Iowa Heart Center recently enrolled its first patient into the PREVAIL trial, a U.S. study comparing the Watchman® Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device to long-term warfarin therapy in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) at risk for stroke.

The Watchman, previously investigated during the PROTECT AF trial, helps to prevent stoke by being percutaneously inserted into the left atrial appendage, essentially occluding blood flow. The device is designed to capture any clots that may form in the appendage potentially reducing the risk of stroke and eliminating the need for long term use of blood thinning medications such as warfarin.   

“The ability to close off the left atrial appendage without major surgery potentially offers many clinical advantages to our patients with atrial fibrillation who are at risk of having a stroke.  The adoption of this procedure and technology may greatly reduce the need for blood thinning medications and decrease the number of strokes in this at risk patient population,” said Robert Hoyt, M.D., electrophysiologist and primary investigator.

AF is the most common rhythm disorder affecting over 5 million people worldwide.  This ineffective pumping action can cause blood to stagnate or pool in the left atrium placing patients with AF at a 6-fold increased risk of stroke versus patients in normal sinus rhythm. For more information about this study, please call 633-3842.

Iowa Heart Center

Iowa Heart Center, founded in 1970, is one of the nation’s premier cardiovascular medicine practices. With offices in Des Moines, Ankeny, Ames, Carroll, Fort Dodge, Indianola, Marshalltown, Ottumwa and West Des Moines, Iowa Heart Center’s physicians and staff are committed to providing world-class heart care, research and prevention services to Iowa families. For more information, visit Iowa Heart on the Internet at

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