What is a Stroke Thrombectomy?

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According to the American Stroke Association, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds, which translates into nearly 800,000 people each year. In addition, every four minutes, someone dies of a stroke. Getting the best care quickly is essential to not only surviving a stroke, but also living with limited disability. While there are a number of treatment options for a stroke, a thrombectomy could help.

What is a stroke thrombectomy?

  • A thrombectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that removes a blood clot from inside an artery in the brain. During this procedure, an interventional neuro-radiologist makes a small incision into a blood vessel in the groin and maneuvers a catheter to the blood vessel in the brain that is occluded using x-rays and contrast. The clot is removed and the blood flow is restored. The objective of the procedure is to minimize the damage caused to the brain by the lack of blood flow and to restore as much injured tissue as possible to its normal function.

How does a blood clot form?

  • Normally, blood flows freely through your blood vessels, arteries, and veins. Your arteries carry blood with oxygen and nutrients to your body and your veins carry waste products back to the heart. When a clot forms, the blood thickens and clumps in one of these vessels and can block the blood flow. When blood flow is blocked, nearby tissues can be damaged.
  • Blood clots can cause many problems, such as:
    • Swelling, pain, numbness or tingling in an arm or leg
    • A cold feeling and/or muscle pain in the area
    • Enlarged veins
    • Death of tissue (as is the case in a stroke)
    • Organ damage
    • Pulmonary embolism (when the clot moves to the lung; this can be fatal)

Thrombectomies and stroke

  • If a patient has an ischemic stroke (stroke caused by a blood clot in the brain), a thrombectomy might be an option to remove the clot.

Getting treatment quickly

If you are having a stroke, every second counts. Eligible patients should be immediately identified as candidates for a thrombectomy, which has shown to make a marked recovery in the most severely disabling types of stroke. Evidence indicates that treating individuals within 24 hours from the onset of their symptoms still have an increased opportunity for improvement.

Are you at risk for stroke? Take the Ochsner stroke risk assessment today.

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