Breakthrough in the Treatment of Stroke

A recent surgical breakthrough in the treatment of stroke victims has been shown to give some patients a healthy and independent life, even up to 24 hours after the stroke has occurred.

A team of Melbourne researchers conducted a clinical trial looking at extending the surgical window for stroke victims from 6 hours, to 24 hours after the CVA event.

Following a stroke (CVA), it was believed the medical team had only 6 hours to prepare and conduct a thrombectomy to remove the blood clot from the brain and salvage whatever brain tissue they could, maximising the patient’s quality of life.

This time restriction made potentially life-saving treatment available for anyone in rural or remote areas, who had minimal access to healthcare. the issue was further compounded by the very nature of strokes in that some victims may not recall the onset of the attack, and therefore would be ineligible for the surgery.

This new trial was initially open to 500 patients however the trial’s success lead the team to open up the window to 24 hours after only 206 cases.

The study found that almost half of the patients who received the surgery after the initial 6-hour window, but before the 24-hour limit had recovered, and were able to live comfortably and independently after just 3 months. This compares starkly to only 13% who achieved the same level of independence and quality of life, who had not received the surgery.

It is important however to understand that not all strokes are the same, only about 20% of ischaemic stroke victims will qualify as candidates for the procedure.

Ischaemic stroke occurs when an artery in the brain becomes blocked, generally by a blood clot, leading to the downstream brain tissue being starved of oxygen and nutrients required for normal cellular metabolism in the brain. A thrombectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the clot and restore blood flow to the affected area.

Find out more about strokes and Cerebrovascular Accidents here.

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