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OSU Medical Center Begins Cryptogenic Stroke Study

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A central Ohio man has become the first patient in the country to receive an advanced, implantable monitoring system as part of a long-term international study to assess the frequency of atrial fibrillation (AF) as a cause of cryptogenic, or unexplained, stroke.

The procedure was performed at The Ohio State University Medical Center’s Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital by Dr. Emile Daoud, director of electrophysiology services and clinical professor in the department of cardiovascular medicine.

“It’s believed that as many as 20 percent of strokes occur in patients with atrial fibrillation, but it may remain undetected,” says Daoud, also a principal investigator in the study. “This system allows us to perform long-term monitoring, to determine if AF is present, and then make decisions about the most effective treatment options for stroke patients.”

AF is the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia, and is a strong risk factor for stroke and heart failure. AF is an abnormal rhythm of the heart’s top chambers that results in erratic beating of the heart muscle. When these chambers do not contract effectively, the blood may pool or clot in the heart. If the clot dislodges and travels to an artery in the brain, a stroke can occur.

In an outpatient procedure, patients are implanted with a device that allows for continuous monitoring of the heart’s electrical activity. A hand-held device, which the physician also uses to program the monitor, is kept by the patient to automatically retrieve and store relevant rhythm data at various intervals automatically each day. Even if the patient has no symptoms during the heart arrhythmia, the device detects it and records it.

The data is then securely transmitted to a third-party monitoring center, where technicians can contact physicians if concerning heart rhythms are observed. Physicians can access the information online, at any time around the clock.

OSU Medical Center is one of five sites in the U.S. and Canada participating in the study. Dr. Mahmoud Houmsse is the lead investigator at Ohio State. The study is sponsored by Transoma Medical, St. Paul, MN.

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