"Time is the enemy for patients experiencing an ischemic stroke. When a clogged artery restricts blood flow and oxygen to the brain, a relentless clock starts ticking. With every passing minute, 1.9 million brain neurons die, according to Jeffrey Saver, MD, director of the UCLA Comprehensive Stroke and Vascular Neurology Program. Every five minutes, a patient’s chance of recovery decreases by 1%. It’s a numbers game no one wants to play.
“The brain is like real estate,” says May Nour, MD, PhD, vascular and interventional neuroradiologist, director of UCLA Health’s Mobile Stroke Rescue Unit. “Location, location, location. There is eloquence in the tissue and losing two million neurons per minute in a clinically significant region of the brain, can leave someone with grave disability for the remainder of their life. Returning blood flow swiftly to the deprived tissue is essential for meaningful recovery.”
The most fortunate stroke patients are swiftly transferred to facilities (like Ronald Reagan Medical Center) where neurointerventionalists can perform a thrombectomy. This procedure is a manual mechanical removal of a clot. It restores blood flow to brain tissue before it dies.
“Interventionalists insert a catheter, advance it into the blocked artery and remove the occlusion using retrievable stents, suction devices or both,” says Dr. Saver. “It’s been a major breakthrough here, improving outcomes for 40% of patients otherwise headed for a devastating stroke.”"
Read more at UCLA Health.