Claret Medical is acknowledging Stroke Awareness Month.

Strokes are unpredictable and devastating; people with a high surgical risk for stroke may never have one, while those with a low risk can suffer a stroke without warning. A new technology cleared by the FDA and introduced just a year ago has proven that it can reduce the incidence of stroke by more than 60 percent when used during an increasingly common heart procedure, transcatheter aortic valve replacement, known as TAVR. Since then, Protected TAVR with the Sentinel Cerebral Protection System is now used by more than 10 percent of TAVR centers nationwide, including many of the leading heart and stroke centers in the country, such as Cedars-Sinai, Cleveland Clinic, New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Kaleida Health at Buffalo General.

During Stroke Awareness Month in the month of May, it is important for patients suffering from severe aortic stenosis who are considering TAVR to be aware that there is technology available to make their treatment safer and offer them peace of mind, if they are concerned about the risk of stroke. The Sentinel Cerebral Protection System protects patients by filtering, capturing and removing pieces of tissue, calcium and other harmful debris released during TAVR before it can reach the brain and cause a blockage, potentially leading to a stroke. Studies have shown that the Sentinel technology captures debris in 99 percent of patients undergoing TAVR and has no safety risks associated with it.

Sentinel patient Jim McCutchon of Corpus Christi, Texas said, “Having aortic stenosis is like flirting with sudden death. My aortic valve was closing down slowly, and I had to stop to catch my breath even with no greater exercise than a leisurely walk. I needed TAVR, but I was concerned that I would have a stroke if I had TAVR without cerebral protection. I struggled with a three year wait until Sentinel was available, and then I felt confident to move forward with the procedure. I’ve seen pictures of the debris that Sentinel captured on the way to my brain, and I am thankful that I waited. Since then, I have had no problems, and I can run and play again.”

Minimally-invasive Sentinel technology has been used to safeguard more than 7,500 patients worldwide and is the most-studied device in the field of TAVR cerebral protection.

“We would never drive a car without a seatbelt and we should never do TAVR without embolic protection,” said leading TAVR physician Susheel Kodali, MD, from New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

“Stroke destroys lives, and it is important that we as physicians do all we can to prevent it. With this in mind, we now use Sentinel technology in all our TAVR cases and have been able to provide greater brain protection to patients,” said TAVR expert Samir Kapadia, MD, with the Cleveland Clinic.