When a Stroke Happens, Every Second Counts
Getting emergency treatment within the first few of the onset of symptoms of stroke is crucial. Stroke patients who receive emergency care right away can avoid or greatly reduce the effects of stroke.
Minimally invasive treatment
Scripps neurointerventional surgeons use small catheters guided by advanced imaging technology to treat stroke. Performed under general anesthesia, this minimally invasive approach reduces the need for large surgical incisions and often reduces the length of time spent in the hospital.
Minimally invasive procedures result in less pain and faster recovery for patients. Stroke treatments include:
- Thrombolytic therapy
Through a tiny incision, an interventional radiologist uses a catheter to deliver a clot-busting medications — either tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) or retavase — to break up the clot. When delivered within the first few hours of the first sign of stroke, this treatment often enables stroke patients to return to their normal lives with minimal or no disabilities.
This type of procedure uses a mechanical device to remove a blood clot. During the procedure, the device is threaded up through the artery to the area of the clot. The device then traps the clot and remove it from the body. There are two types of devices used for a thrombectomy, the Merci Retriever and the penumbra system.
- Re-opening narrowed arteries
A buildup of plaque in the artery (atherosclerosis) may decrease blood flow to the brain, or plaque may break loose and block a smaller vessel leading to the brain. In these cases, the neurointerventional surgeon may re-open the narrowed artery by compressing the plaque against the wall of the artery or inserting a stent to keep the pathway open. This treatment can also be used to prevent strokes. Procedures include:
- Embolizing agents
To treat hemorrhagic stroke or subarachnoid hemorrhage, the interventional radiologist may use an X-ray-guided catheter to deliver a medication that clots the blood or closes off the broken vessel. Tiny platinum coils may be left in the vessel to block abnormal blood flow. This technique may also prevent stroke by treating aneurysms before they rupture. Procedures include:
- AVM embolization
- Aneurysm embolization
- Spinal embolization
Neurointerventional surgeons provide a complete spectrum of minimally invasive services for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with vascular problems involving the brain, spinal cord, head and neck, as well as other peripheral vascular malformations.
Guided by X-rays, neurointerventional surgeons are able to reach the problem area through a catheter so they can correct conditions such as aneurysms, clots and tumors of the head, brain, neck and spine, without open surgery.