Stroke Prevention for Atrial Fibrillation Patients
Flow MedTech, Inc. is a Health Wildcatters portfolio company developing an innovative therapy to reduce the chance of strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation by preventing clot formation in the left atrial appendage. The aim of the company is to design, develop, and commercialize novel catheter-based devices to reduce stroke risk.
Founded by two graduates from the Georgia Tech Biomedical Engineering Program, Flow MedTech™ was first introduced to the problem in November 2013 and began testing prototypes using heart models by May 2014. Flow MedTech continues to focus on product development and preclinical testing to de-risk the device and achieve the next step of the regulatory pathway.
High Risk of Stroke in Atrial Fibrillation Patients
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart arrhythmia in which the heart is irregularly beating. Currently, 15 million patients have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, globally. Of that population, 7.5 million have been diagnosed with a CHADS2>2 (clinical predictor tool for stroke risk). In untreated AF patients, their risk of stroke increases as they age; 15% of all strokes are caused by AF. In patients 70 years and older, more than 20-25% of strokes are caused by AF.
Clotting and Stroke Risk
The left atrial appendage (LAA) is a pouch off of the left atrium or upper left chamber of the heart. Due to irregular contractions from AF, blood may flow into the LAA but may not flow out, causing the blood to remain in the LAA and harden, forming clots. Due to the irregular heart rhythm, these clots can break away and travel to the brain, causing stroke. Research has shown that 90% of clots in the brain can be traced to this left atrial appendage.
Flow MedTech is currently developing a device to prevent blood flow into the left atrial appendage, effectively reducing clot formation, and consequently, the risk of stroke.