(WXYZ) - A revolutionary heart procedure that could potentially save thousands of lives is being tested in metro Detroit.
A clinical trial is underway, testing a new device on patients who are prone to strokes.
76-year-old William Brooks of Huron Township is one of just two patients in the entire country fitted with an amplatzer cardiac plug.
"His risk of stroke is approximately 5% per year, with this device there might be a reduction to less than 1% per year," says Dr. Christian Machado.
Brooks suffers from atrial fibrillation, a condition that makes his heart beat irregularly and can make him prone to blood clots. They can in turn lead to stroke.
The cardiac plug could save thousands of lives across the US but Dr. Christian Machado is testing it right here at St. John's Providence Hospital in Southfield.
The plug is sent to the heart where it closes off the left atrial appendage. In a-fib patients, that's the primary source of blood clots.
If the clinical trial proves the plug is safe it could improve the quality of life for patients like Brooks, who depend on blood thinner and a strict diet.
"Being able to not take blood thinner long term, not having to pay attention to their diet, not having any dietary restrictions that come with the use of anticoagulants," explained Dr. Machado.
"Whatever length of time I have left, I think it will give me a better quality of life," add Brooks.
While Brookes is optimistic about the results, it will take two years for the trial to be complete from Southfield.