Stroke Prevention Device Faces Unclear Future

SAN FRANCISCO (March 9, 2013)—Early results from a key study of a promising heart device aimed at preventing strokes in people at high risk because of irregular heartbeats are mixed.

The study suggests Boston Scientific Corp.'s Watchman device is safer than previous testing suggested, but may not as good as a drug that is used now for preventing strokes, heart-related deaths and blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation.

That condition causes the heart to flutter rather than beat as it should, which can lead to clots that cause strokes.

The results were to have been the top study at an American College of Cardiology conference in San Francisco on Saturday, but the presentation was pulled because the company released results early.

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