Updated 05/24/2012 05:55 PM
New stroke treatment is easier, safer and faster for patients
Advancements in medical technology are making it easier for patients to recover from a stroke. The first ever stent approved specifically for the treatment of blood clots hit U.S. hospitals a month and a half ago. Upstate University Hospital was one of those early adopters. As our Katie Gibas reports, doctors say it's easier, faster and safer for patients.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- We've all heard the symptoms.
"Problems talking, weakness in the arms or legs, numbness, tingling. Those are some of the major symptoms of stroke," said Dr. Eric Deshaies, the SUNY Upstate Neurovascular Center Director.
The good news for those patients is a new treatment method is making it easier, faster and safer to treat blood clots in the brain. The Solitaire FR Revascularization Device was approved for widespread use in the U.S. about a month and a half ago. The device deploys a small metal net, called a stent, into the artery where the clot is. The doctor is able to grab the blood clot with the stent and pull it out.
"With this stent, we've been able to remove clots much faster than with the other devices. And again, the faster you get the blood clot out, the sooner you get blood flow and oxygen to the brain, the more likely a patient is to recover," said Deshaies.
Before this technology, doctors would have to use either a corkscrew type device or a suction tool like a vacuum to get the blockage out.
The Solitaire FR Revascularization Device is the first retractable stent and the first stent designed for stoke therapy.
"We're able to put a stent in that does the jobs and then we can take the stent out and not have to worry about blood thinning medications, or narrowing of the vessels inside the stent," said Deshaies.
Early recognition and detection of stroke-like symptoms is crucial because patients only have about an eight hour window from the onset of those symptoms to get the stent procedure.
"A stroke is actually dead tissue in the brain, something that can't recover. So you have a period of time when the brain isn't functioning properly and you have stroke symptoms, but that area of the brain can actually recover if the clot is taken out in time and blood flow and oxygen are restored to that area of the brain. Beyond eight hours, it's not safe to do anything because the risk of bleeding in the brain is extremely high," said Deshaies.
So when it comes to stroke symptoms remember F.A.S.T.: Face, arm, speech and time.