Published on November 07, 2014

Jacksonville great grandpa receives life saving surgery

It began with a flutter. Four years ago, Dale Touchton experienced an unusual fluttering sensation in his chest that led him to a discovery.

"I have Afib and I cannot take blood thinners and I know that my chances were great for having a stroke," said Touchton.

Touchton is one of two million Americans that suffer from Atrial fibrillation, the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm and leading cause of stroke in the country. An active great-grandfather, Touchton was concerned about his risk for elevated stroke, so he turned to Doctor Saumil Oza, a cardiac electrophysioloist with the Atrial Fibrillation Institute at St. Vincent's Medical Center Riverside.

"We want to give all people in this area the chance to feel more comfort as well as diminishing the risk of stroke," said Oza.

Medication regimens and a non-surgical procedure failed to correct his Afib, so he opted for the new Lariat procedure. According to doctors, the procedure decreases the risk of stroke by 60 percent.

How does it work?

Doctors use a catheters carrying the Lariat suture delivery device to close off the blood flow to the left atrial appendage.That eliminates the possibility of blood clots forming in the area. Dale took two days to recover and it is nothing compared to the years he's ready to spend with his family...great grandchildren and all....

"Spending time with my grandchildren is so important and I want to be a part of their lives them to remember their granddaddy and their great granddaddy...you know?!"

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