New Stroke Therapy Called 'miraculous'

CALGARY, Alberta, June 11 (UPI) — Canadian scientists say they’ve developed a “miraculous” new procedure that can break down blood clots for more than just three hours following a stroke.

The procedure uses a tool called the Penumbra System of Continuous Aspiration Thrombectomy to break down and gently aspirate stroke-causing blood clots, thereby opening blocked vessels.

Dr. Mayank Goyal, director of the University of Calgary’s Seaman MR Research Center, said the procedure, if used within a few hours of an ischemic stroke, can restore blood flow to the affected areas of the brain and prevent permanent loss of brain cells and related brain damage.

“This unique new procedure is really quite miraculous,” Goyal said.

The technique involves inserting a tiny catheter into a blood vessel in the groin and moving it to the neck where an even smaller catheter is inserted into the brain beside the clot. Then the clot is removed by vacuum.

Goyal said the procedure is suitable for only large ischemic strokes — those caused by the interruption of blood flow to the brain due to a blood clot.

Currently the only proven treatment for a stroke is the use of a clot-busting drug called t-PA, which must be administered within three hours of the onset of the stroke to work. The new procedure does not require such a time limit.

The research was presented during a meeting earlier this week in Quebec City of the Canadian Stroke Congress.

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