The researchers from Yale University have come up with good news for stroke patients. The new and improved stroke treatment is a light of hope for millions of people who were otherwise thought untreatable. The complete study findings are published in the Journal of Neurosurgery.
Charles Matouk and Nils Petersen have worked on this new stroke treatment called “direct carotid puncture (DCT)” which is a safer and better alternative to the standard technique called “mechanical thrombectomy” which was difficult to perform.
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Nearly 795,000 cases of stroke are recorded annually in the US alone which accounts for at least 140,000 deaths. Having better treatment options is much likely to reduce the deaths caused by stroke, hence saving millions of patients.
Typically, within the first four hours after a stroke hits, the patient can undergo receiving a protein called “tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)” which works on breaking the blood clots. However, if it is already too late to give tPA to a patient, the bleeding risk becomes excessively high hence risking the life of the stroke patients.
For all severe stroke patients, there is typically a blood clot involved in blocking a major blood artery in the brain. So in this new and improved stroke treatment, the researchers tried to combine two vital procedures i.e. tPA and thrombectomy, and using a stent to remove that blood clot. This stent is sent to the brain by using a catheter inside an artery, typically added through the groin. Despite being effective and successful, this process is extremely long as well as tricky that only experienced and patient doctors are expected to perform it.
Normally, aging affects all body parts including the blood vessels which is why they become somewhat twisted and weak. It means navigating anything to the brain is tricky so in nearly half of the patients, performing mechanical thrombectomies becomes almost impossible because of the age.
For stroke patients, every passing minute is important and if this time is passed without doing anything, there is a high chance of a patient losing his life or end up with a permanent disability.
For this new and improved stroke treatment, Dr. Matouk and Dr. Petersen tried to design a safer route for approaching the brain for the stent. Fortunately, this groin passage brought promising results. They inserted the catheter to the carotid artery in the neck and then started the thrombectomy.
This new procedure will help doctors to get their hands on the blood clot in lesser time and save a patient’s life. This method was considered risky than all other routes to perform thrombectomy. But based on the experience of Dr. Matouk’s both him and Dr. Petersen tried to re-define the process and succeeded.
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They compared the data obtained from Yale-New Haven Hospital from the years 2015 to 2018 of the patients who underwent thrombectomies and aborted thrombectomy patients for the abnormalities in arteries. These patients were then gone through a DCT-enabled thrombectomy.
The comparison revealed surprising results. The surgeons were only able to perform 19/20 surgeries on DCT and 84% of these patients were successfully treated for the blood clot hindering their blood supply.