Newswise — TOLEDO, Ohio, May 12, 2014 – For a patient who suffers a severe ischemic stroke, or blockage of a blood vessel, and who may not be a candidate for the more common medication (tissue plasminogen activator or tPA) that dissolves a clot, another option of treatment is available at ProMedica. Mechanical embolectomy is performed by going through the leg with a catheter to the brain where the clot is located, mechanically retrieving and removing the clot, and restoring critical blood flow.
“We have seen immediately improvement in some patients after the clot has been removed,” a according to Dr. Mouhammad Jumaa, medical director of the ProMedica Stroke Network.
To determine where the clot is located, doctors perform a brain-computed tomography scan, or brain CT scan, by injecting a contrast dye into the carotid artery. The dye helps make the artery visible on x-ray pictures and provides clear, detailed images of the brain as soon as possible after a stroke is suspected. In mechanical embolectomy, when clot-dissolving medication is not prescribed, a stent is used to capture and remove the clot.
As with any invasive procedure, risks are involved. However, with mechanical embolectomy, these risks can be minimized.
“We are having very good outcomes especially for those patients who do not qualify for tPA,” says Dr. Jumaa.
Stroke is a very common disease. According to the National Stroke Association, approximately 795,000 strokes will occur this year in the United States, one occurring every 40 seconds, and take a life approximately every four minutes.
It is important for patients to know their risk factors which can contribute to a stroke, including high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. One factor that can potentially cause a stroke is atrial defibrillation, or an irregular heartbeat. Another is carotid artery stenosis, which causes clot-forming and a narrowing of the vessels due to the build-up of cholesterol.
“Fifty percent of patients do not survive a stroke. For those who do, they survive with a disability,” says Dr. Jumaa.
Within the first 24 hours of being hospitalized, doctors perform a series of screenings to provide quicker diagnosis and treatment, and to help prevent recurring strokes.
With the help of a primary care physician, many diseases linked to stroke, including hypertension, atrial fibrillation, high cholesterol, diabetes and atherosclerosis are treatable. Making wise decisions to quit smoking, drink less alcohol and maintain a healthy weight can also reduce the risk of stroke.
According to the National Stroke Association, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of disability. Eighty percent of strokes are preventable with the appropriate health screenings and changes to diet and lifestyle. For more stroke information, please visit www.stroke.org
Learn more about ProMedica’s neurology services, including the ProMedica Stroke Network.
Toledo, Ohio-based ProMedica is a mission-based, not-for-profit healthcare organization formed in 1986. ProMedica has more than 15,000 employees and nearly 1,900 physicians with more than 600 healthcare providers employed by ProMedica Physicians. Its 12 hospitals and more than 300 facilities offer comprehensive diagnostic, medical and surgical specialties in heart and vascular, oncology, orthopedics, neurology, and women and pediatric services. ProMedica’s mission is to improve health and well-being, with a strong focus on wellness and clinical excellence, as well as innovative, community advocacy programs that address health-related issues such as hunger and obesity. For more information, please visit www.promedica.org.