New Technology Protects Heart Procedure Patients from Stroke


Stroke threats in any form represent major concerns for any patient or physician.

Munson Medical Center is among the first hospitals in the country – and one of just four in the state – to introduce the Sentinel® Cerebral Protection System. The technology helps protect patients from the risk of stroke during minimally-invasive heart valve surgery, known as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). 

“This technology is very exciting because Munson has been offering TAVR since 2012,” said Nicklaus Slocum, M.D., FACC, FSCAI, a cardiologist at the hospital. “Use of cerebral protection devices takes an already safe and effective procedure and makes it even safer.” 

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement is proven effective in treating aortic stenosis without open heart surgery. However, recent studies have shown that during the procedure, calcium deposits from the heart valve or tissue can become dislodged and travel to the brain, creating a stroke risk. 

The Sentinel system is the first FDA-cleared device available in the U.S. to capture and remove any dislodged calcium before it reaches the brain. The device has been shown to reduce strokes by 63 percent during the procedure and in the first 72 hours after it, when most strokes occur.

A U.S. clinical trial of the technology showed that the device captured dislodged calcium in 99 percent of TAVR cases, with no added risk for the patient. To date, more than 3,500 patients worldwide have been protected with the innovative technology.

“Members of our team asked, ‘In 2018, if a loved one was having TAVR, would you want them to have cerebral protection?’ The answer was a very strong ‘yes,’” Dr. Slocum said. “Offering this technology is an example of the structural heart program and our cardiovascular services keeping the patient, their safety, and outcome, at the center of what we do.”