Woman receives heart implant to prevent strokes

She is a grandmother, great grandmother, and now a medical pioneer.

A valley woman became one of the first in the country to use a new device aimed at preventing blood clots in patients with irregular heartbeats.

"Relief, it's a total relief, I don't worry about it anymore," said Sally Sedig.

For more than a decade, Sedig has lived with the fear of having a stroke. She has an irregular heart beat that put her at risk for blood clots.

"I just have had a horror of having a stroke, and not being able to talk, or being incapacitated alive, but a vegetable," said Sedig.

Blood thinners reduced the risk but led to other problems. Including increased bruising, and frequent doctor visits.

It was one of those visits that Sally learned about a new device called the Watchman.

"A mesh connected to some metal that can plug the area of your heart that you don't really need anyway, but it is a source of the clots that cause strokes," said Dr. Hursh Naik.

The device is newly approved by the FDA. St. Joseph's Hospital is one of only 40 hospitals across the country using the device.

Sally is the second patient to receive one.

"He assured me he had done several during the trial period, and that's kind of intimidating, especially since he looks like a teenager to me," said Sedig.

The surgery is done via a catheter; Sally spent just one night in the hospital.

Dr. Naik is calling the surgery a success.

"Now she gets to live her years not thinking about that, and that quality of life, you can't put a price tag on that," said Dr. Naik.

Sally says she is looking forward to vacationing with her husband Albert, and spending some time with her 29 grandchildren, and 35 great-grandchildren.