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Removing Clots May Limit Damages from Stroke

A stroke is a medical condition that occurs when blood flow to the brain is stopped. If the brain does not get the blood and oxygen it needs, then brain cells can die, causing permanent damage. Each year, 800,000 people experience a stroke, the leading cause of adult disability.

Researchers in the Netherlands have developed a new treatment that has been show to limit the damage from a common, but medically devastating form of stroke. Most strokes are caused by the development of a blood clot in the vessel supplying the brain with blood. Medical professionals most commonly use tPA, a clot-dissolving medicine, within four and half hours following the stroke symptoms. Since many people do not seek the necessary help in such a short period of time, this is not always accurate.

What did the researchers learn about stroke treatments?

Researchers determined that the use of devices intended to mechanically remove clots in combination with clot-dissolving medicines lowered the risk that the individual would end up disabled. This was determined by studying 500 different stroke patients who were treated with just clot medication and clot medication along with the clot-removing manual device within six hours of beginning their symptoms.

Within the group studied:

  • 33% of patients that were given both treatments returned to an independent life
  • 19% of those only given tPA were able to live an independent life
  • 19% of those receiving any treatment died within a month
  • 7% of those receiving any treatment experienced cerebral hemorrhage

The focus, however, is on the number of patients that received both treatments that were then able to continue living a healthy life.

This does not mean that everyone should immediately use a clot-busting device in combination with tPA. These devices carry the risk of breaking a clot, which can release smaller pieces that get stuck in other vessels of the brain, causing additional strokes. In the study, 13 patients that received treatment using the device suffered strokes in other parts of their brain.

Still, this research indicates that this method of treatment may be effective if executed properly. More studies need to be conducted to ensure that anyone suffering from a stroke receives the best possible medical attention.

Have you suffered injury as a result of a medical professional treating your stroke? Contact The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. for a free consultation.

Categories: Medical Errors