Strokes are often caused by a blood clot in the brain. If the patient shows up at the emergency department soon enough after symptoms* start, doctors can inject an enzyme that dissolves the clot and often minimizes the damage. But a large clot may not yield to this treatment.
Now researchers in the Netherlands have demonstrated that using a stent attached to the end of a catheter to grab the clot and remove it is a potentially effective approach. The study included 500 stroke patients at 16 medical centers. All received the clot-dissolving drug alteplase; half were randomly assigned to be treated with retrievable stents as well.
Following treatment, one in three of those who received the intra-arterial intervention were able to function independently, compared to one in five of those who did not. The absolute difference was 13.5 percentage points.
There is video (2minutes 24 seconds) provided by The New England Journal of Medicine, which published the study.
*Symptoms of stroke include Face drooping or asymmetrical. Is the smile lopsided?
Arm weakness or numbness in one arm only. Ask the person to raise both arms to assess.
Speech problems, with slurring or inability to repeat a simple sentence.
The American Stroke Association uses this acronym to spell FAST. The T stands for: Time to call 911! Don’t delay, since time is brain.