Mechanical Thrombectomy

If you or someone you love has suffered a vertebral arterial dissection followed by a stroke, get treatment immediately. When a patient receives appropriate treatment quickly, their long-term outcome is usually better.

Mechanical Thrombectomy for Treatment of Stroke

The most commonly used thrombolytic medication approved for treatment of stroke is Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA). Another approved treatment is Mechanical Thrombectomy, and many people in the medical community now consider it to be the gold standard.
Stroke affects three quarters of a million people in the United States and 85 percent of those strokes are considered ischemic, the result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. Mechanical thrombectomy with a stent retriever is considered a breakthrough in stroke treatment. Recently approved by the FDA, this minimally invasive procedure is more effective than Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) alone at removing larger clots.
Upon diagnosis of an ischemic stroke, typically the patient is administered Tissue Plasminogen Activator or tPA, (a thrombolytic medication) to the site of the blood clot. If the clot is not dissolved by tPA, the patient becomes a candidate for mechanical thrombectomy, a catheter-based technology.
For a variety of reasons, some patients are not eligible for intravenous or intra-arterial thrombolysis such as tPA. In that case, doctors will often administer mechanical thrombectomy as their first course of action.

How the Procedure Works

During a mechanical thrombectomy procedure, a small catheter is inserted via femoral access (in the groin area) and snaked up into the brain. Once in the small vessels of the brain where the clot is located, the catheter head is expanded into a retrievable stent like device. The catheter is then removed as the device grabs the clot and pulls it out.

Results of Mechanical Thrombectomy

Mechanical thrombectomy may allow a patient who had no other options to be treated effectively and safely, and reverse a neurologic deficit. It can decrease disability, help you to recover more quickly, and lead a normal healthy life.

Risks of Mechanical Thrombectomy

Risks are relatively low with groin puncture, infection at the puncture site and allergic reaction to the dye used during the procedure being the most common.

Time is of the Essence

Mechanical Thrombectomy should be done within the first 6 hours of the first signs of a stroke, so knowing the signals and seeking treatment as soon as possible is key.
Using the acronym “BE FAST” may help you remember the symptoms of a stroke:

B for Balance – If you can’t stand up without leaning to one side
E for Eye movement – If you can’t focus your eyes
F for Face changing – You may notice your face is drooping
A for Arms – You may have difficulty holding an object or moving your arms
S for Speech – It may be hard to make sounds or form words
T for Time to call 911

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