JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Your heart beats over 100,000 times a day, pumping one and a half gallons of blood every minute. If your heart speeds up, skips beats, or feels like it’s banging against your chest, that could be a sign of atrial fibrillation, or AFib, and it could put you at risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart failure. Now, a new device is helping people with AFib to get their heart back on beat.

The first time Doug Dixon experienced AFib, his heart went into an irregular heartbeat for 17 minutes. He found out when his pacemaker alerted his doctor. When this happened, Doug was at risk for a stroke.

Baptist Health interventional cardiologist, Dr. Ruby Satpathy emphasizes, “People are scared, they would rather die than have a stroke.”

Dr. Satpathy was one of the first to use a new FDA device designed to treat patients who cannot use blood thinners to reduce the risk of stroke. The Amulet LAA Occluder uses a minimally invasive procedure to seal the left atrial appendage.

“Our heart has a little appendix, just like appendix in the belly. It’s a little pouch. That’s where blood gets in there, doesn’t move, forms clot and it goes up next time to brain causes stroke,” Dr. Satpathy explains.

The Amulet is a permanent implant that is placed in a patient’s left atrial appendage, LAA, which is a pouch-like part of the heart. It’s like two doors being locked, preventing blood clots from entering the blood stream.

Dr. Sathpathy adds, “This prevents stroke, this reduces or eliminates bleeding because now you’re not on blood thinner, you’re only on baby aspirin.”

It worked for Doug and he’s now feeling stronger every day.

“They ask me how I’m doing, I say, ‘Well, I’m still vertical.’ So, that’s what counts,” Doug says.

The Amulet does not cure AFib. It greatly reduces the risk of stroke and bleeding. Patients will still need to monitor their a-fib after receiving the amulet.