Doctors in central Indiana using new tool to treat stroke victims

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A new life-saving tool is being used for the first time in the U.S. to treat stroke patients. Doctors in central Indiana were the first to perform the procedure.

It’s called the EmboTrap II. Think of it as a rake pulling out a blood clot in a patient’s brain while they’re actively having a stroke.

“When a vessel in the head is blocked, the brain is dying fairly rapidly so we are racing the clock to save that brain tissue and restore flow to that brain,” said Dr. Dainel Sahlein.

The tiny tool was just approved to be used in the U.S.

Already, the Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine team has performed the first procedure at St. Vincent.

It uses a self-expanding stent that’s connected to a wire. The stent opens up inside the clot and pulls the entire clot out of the brain. The 15- to 20-minute process limits the potential for lifelong damage.

“Many of these patients end up walking out of the hospital two days later. They come in with the inability to move, inability to speak or understand language. After this kind of treatment literally walk out of the hospital two days later,” Sahlein said.

Sahlein says these are the most crucial symptoms to look out for. Your face is twisted to one side, you can’t speak, or you can’t move one or both of your arms. This tool is in place to help reverse those symptoms.

“So this is while you’re having a stroke. One of the really critical points is that patients need to come into the hospital immediately when they experience symptoms,” Sahlein said.

And unlike years ago, when a stroke patient had to live with those symptoms, the EmboTrap II gives you a shot at a normal life.

“A much greater percentage of patients will live independently at 3 months when they get this type of treatment versus those who do not,” Sahlein said.

The device was formally launched just this week at a conference is San Francisco.

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