January 16, 2015 – Change in Treatment


Anchor lead:  Using mechanical techniques as well as drugs may improve stroke outcomes, Elizabeth Tracey reports

If the clot busting drug called TPA fails to dissolve the blood clot when someone has a stroke, what should be done?  A new study concludes that mechanically removing the clot results in better outcomes.  Steven Zeiler, a stroke expert at Johns Hopkins, says he and his team are convinced.

Zeiler: We will consider taking every single patient after IV TPA who’s not improved and if they have a vessel occlusion by either CT angiography or MR angiography, taking them to the catheter angiography suite to stick catheters in the brain. It’s very exciting and it’s reassuring and it’s moving us in the right direction.  :19

Zeiler says the good news is many people are already capable of performing such an intervention.

Zeiler:  You have to have trained individuals who do these regularly and know these techniques, so the learning curve is pretty high. But every major institution is already set up to do this in some fashion.  :12

Zeiler says that regional stroke centers will have such experts in place.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.