When you receive treatment at CoxHealth, you’re not only taking care of your own health, you’re helping others through research conducted here.

PFO Closure Study

CoxHealth cardiologist Steven Rowe, MD, and neurologist Jennifer Lynch, MD, have partnered to participate in a clinical study to explore treatment options for individuals who have a hole in their heart and have experienced a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).

All babies are born with a naturally occurring hole in their heart that allows for circulation and growth. The hole usually closes within the first or second year of life. When it fails to close, it’s called a patent foramen ovale, or PFO. The hole could potentially allow a blood clot to pass to the brain, which could cause a stroke or TIA. According to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 20 percent of adults have a PFO.

Although there are devices approved to close atrial septal defects, a form of congenital heart defect, there is no device approved in the U.S. for the specific indication of PFO closure. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a clinical study to test the Gore Helex Septal Occluder device for the indication of PFO closure. The Gore REDUCE Clinical Study is being conducted to determine whether the device may be more effective than antiplatelet medical therapy (blood thinning medication) alone at reducing the recurrent stroke rate in individuals who have had a previous stroke or TIA. By closing the PFO, it is thought that the Gore Helex Septal Occluder may prevent a blood clot from crossing through the PFO and circulating to the brain, thus preventing a stroke or TIA.

Individuals who meet the study criteria are approached and asked to volunteer for the study. The study will last approximately five years. For more information, talk with your cardiologist or neurologist, or call 417-269-0598.

Drug-Eluting Stent Study

A nationwide study is open to CoxHealth patients who receive a new generation drug-eluting stent. 

A stent is a slotted tube that is placed in a blocked artery, reestablishing blood to flow to the heart, according to Steven Rowe, MD, cardiologist and principal investigator of the study.

The FDA-approved stent used for the study is already in use at CoxHealth and the course of treatment is the same for patients whether or not they participate in the study. Participants in the study also take an FDA-approved anti-platelet medication. This medication is provided free to participants for the duration of the trial.

The research study lasts five years and trial participants share clinical data about their progress for the duration of the study.

Participation in the trial is voluntary and there are usually no additional costs for patients. If you’re interested in participating, talk to your doctor.