One of the biggest boosts in treatment of acute stroke was the use of clot busters. Given within the proper window of opportunity, TPA drugs can dissolve clots and minimize strokes.
“The sooner we can get the patient to the treatment table and give the treatment the more brain tissue we can save. And we learned now over the years and with very good data the golden hour i.e. the time line, 60 minutes after the patient walks thru the door, is the best time line we can give the patients the clot busting medicines,” says Dr. Nima Mowzoon, neurologist on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
Proven protocols allow the administration of clot-busters for up to 3 hours; time being a valuable commodity.
The impact of a stroke can be catastrophic to the brain. Studies show about 1-million nerve cells die every minute. That’s why researchers looked for ways to expand treatment options. One of the most cutting-edge is to surgically remove the clot from the blood vessel.
“We thought of what else can we do that goes beyond the community standard to give our patients in the community the best quality of care that they could possibly get. Well the answer is thrombectomy,” says Dr. Mowzoon.
Thrombectomy, also called clot retrieval, may be an option for patients who are timing out on the clot-busting drug, but still have salvageable brain. The delicate procedure is performed by an endovascular surgeon.
“Sometimes what he does is administer that TPA substance clot buster while he’s attempting to retrieve the clot. So this is state-of-the-art technique that really isn’t available in a lot of places around the nation. And we’ve started to implement these protocols now,” says Dr. Mowzoon.
The cutting edge procedure is being established within the stroke unit at Gulf Coast Medical Center.
“The hospital has invested and bought and has employed this new program with CT angiogram and perfusion studies, which we can accurately map out which area of brain has already died and which area of the brain can die if we don’t do anything about it,” says Dr. Mowzoon.
So when the right opportunity strikes, there may be more treatment options for more people.