WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - April 10, 2012 - Less than 24 hours after suffering a stroke that left him paralyzed on his left side, a 39-year-old Winston-Salem man regained the ability to move his left arm and leg, thanks to a procedure performed by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center surgeons using a recently approved clot-removal device.
The surgery - performed Sunday (April 8) by Rashid M. Janjua, M.D., assistant professor of neurosurgery and radiology, and P. Pearse Morris, M.D., professor of radiology and neurosurgery - marked the first use in North Carolina of the new device, which restores blood flow to the brain by mechanically removing stroke-inducing blood clots.
Wake Forest Baptist was the first hospital in the state to acquire the device, the Solitaire™ FR, following its approval by the federal Food and Drug Administration on March 5.
"The patient we operated on Sunday night was an ideal candidate for this procedure because of the type of stroke he suffered, and the new device worked exactly as it was designed to," Janjua said Monday. "His blood is flowing properly and he should have a complete recovery."
The patient suffered an ischemic stroke - one in which a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot - at approximately 3 p.m. Sunday. He was brought to Wake Forest Baptist and, after a CT scan determined the cause of the stroke and the location of the clot, the surgery was performed shortly after 9 p.m. Performed without anesthesia, the procedure took only 13 minutes from the insertion of the device to the restoration of blood flow to the patient's brain.
"This is truly a game-changing development in acute stroke care," Janjua said. "Instead of trying to restoring blood flow by dissolving the clot with an intravenous agent or shattering it with a mechanical device, we now have the ability to literally grab it and remove it, which is faster, safer and more effective."
In the procedure, the Solitaire device, which is manufactured by Covidien, Inc., is inserted into an artery in the groin with a catheter and guided to the stroke-causing clot. The device's self-expanding wires ensnare the clot, allowing its removal as the catheter is withdrawn.
According to the American Heart Association, approximately 800,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. Stroke kills approximately 135,000 people a year, making it the No. 4 cause of death in the United States, and stroke-related medical and disability expenditures cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $73 billion in 2010.