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Breakthrough Stroke Treatment Surprises Doctors and Patients

February 22, 2018

“Stroke Belt” or “Stroke Alley” is a name given to a 9-state region in the southeastern United States that has been recognized by public health authorities for having an unusually high incidence of stroke: Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

That’s why a medical breakthrough…available right here at the Medical College of Georgia... is such a big deal. Neurologist Dr. David Hess, Dean of the medical college, calls it “the biggest deal ever” in stroke treatment.

The procedure is a Thrombectomy… and it’s a game changer. Dr. Edward Mendoza was paralyzed and unable to speak after his stroke.

“Within about 18 hours I was completely able to talk and function and everything.”

And here’s why: this computerized image of Mendoza’s brain show the clot, and the damage it’s causing because the blood flow is blocked. “Every minute that passes you lose about one million brain cells.”

Thrombectomy enables surgeons to remove the clot. “While you’re going into the clot where you deposit that net-like stent and pull the clot out. The blue arrow is highlighting the area of the brain where there is no blood, then on the post there are many blood vessels going to that region and without removing that clot that entire area of the brain would have a massive stroke. It would be dead brain, non-functioning brain.” This is the clot Dr. Ramini’s team pulled from Mendoza.

Dr. Jeffrey Switzer is the Director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at the Medical College of Georgia. He says as a physician, it is mind-blowing to see the results.

You saw the patient in the emergency so devastated.. a year ago we couldn’t have helped. They may not have survived, or certainly would have had their life permanently changed. And then they leave the hospital two days later as if nothing happened.”