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Months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a device with the potential to close the source of many atrial fibrillation-related strokes, hospitals, cardiologists and patients find themselves in a holding pattern increasingly common for newly emerging therapies: They are waiting for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to issue a national coverage determination for left atrial appendage (LAA) occlusion. 

As many as 6.1 million Americans are living with atrial fibrillation (afib) and the concomitant high risk for stroke. While anticoagulant medications are a proven and viable option for reducing stroke risk faced by most of these patients, about 40 percent can’t or won’t take warfarin or one of the newer oral anticoagulants (JAMA 2014;312[19...

Editorial
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A few years ago at a conference for heart disease survivors, two well-known cardiologists fielded questions about stroke.
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Special Section
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Despite its name, Bakersfield Heart Hospital offers more service lines than just those under its cardiovascular umbrella.
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For patients with cardiovascular disease, the cost of not taking prescribed medications can be worse outcomes, increased hospitalization and even death. Nevertheless, about half of patients who are...
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