BryanLGH first in Nebraska to use new treatment for stroke
Doctors at BryanLGH Medical Center are the first in Nebraska to use a new treatment for acute ischemic stroke patients. It is called the Solitaire Flow Restoration Device, just approved by the FDA on March 5th, 2012.
Interventional radiologists at BryanLGH are the first in Nebraska to use this latest clot-retrieval tool to remove a blood clot from the brain of an 84-year-old Lincoln woman suffering a major ischemic stroke.
Photo caption: (left) Dr. Jeffery Himmelberg, interventional radiologist, Advanced Radiology (right) Dr. Michael Budler, interventional radiologist, Advanced Radiology
An ischemic stroke occurs when a clot blocks blood flow to the brain. The lack of blood flow causes brain cells to die, which leads to permanent brain damage and long-term impairments.
The first line of treatment against ischemic stroke is a clot-busting drug called TPA (tissue plasminogen activator). However, not every patient can receive TPA. Those who are over 80, taking anticoagulants, or have a history of stroke or diabetes do not qualify. The BryanLGH Stroke Center is the only hospital in Lincoln able to treat all stroke patients, including those unable to receive TPA, by mechanically removing blood clots from the brain.
“Getting to a facility that can rapidly remove the clot is essential in minimizing damage and maximizing recovery,” says Dr. Michael Budler, interventional radiologist, Advanced Radiology. “Clots must be removed within 6 hours of the onset of symptoms to reduce the debilitating effects of this serious medical condition.”
The procedure is performed through a small nick in the groin where a thin catheter tube is inserted and guided to the clot in the brain using real-time x-ray. The Solitaire device is then placed across the clot. The device has a self-expanding design that adheres to the clot. The clot is removed by withdrawing the device, thus reopening the blocked blood vessel.
Photo caption: Donna Nelson (first Solitaire patient) sits with her husband Norman.
Results of the Solitaire clinical trial, called SWIFT (Solitaire With the Intention For Thrombectomy) proved that patients who were treated with Solitaire devices had significantly higher rates of neurological function and reduced death from stroke three months after the procedure. The outcomes were so significant that the study was halted a year earlier than planned in order to make the device available to the public.
“This technology is a significant break-through for treatment of stroke patients,” says Dr. Budler. “The best stroke outcomes come from fast treatment. The Solitaire device allows us to restore blood flow to the brain faster than ever before.”