A research team in Canada has performed its first catheter implantation of a new device in the heart, designed to prevent blood clots in patients with atrial fibrillation and to avoid open-heart surgery.

The new device, the Amplatzer Cardiac Plug, is a circular prosthetic, available in eight sizes between 16mm and 30mm in diameter, and costs about $5,000.

Doctors insert the device through the femoral vein, accessed via a patient’s groin, to the left atrium of the heart in around 90 minutes.

Following the insertion, the device seals a small part of the chamber, where such clotting mostly occurs.

University of Montreal interventional cardiologist Dr Reda Ibrahim said by preventing clot formation, this prosthesis makes it possible to prevent cardiovascular accidents and calls for a less invasive procedure in comparison to open heart surgery.

“We are delighted at being able to pool our expertise to offer a promising alternative to patients with atrial fibrillation and, in doing so, bring hope to these patients,” Ibrahim said.