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Upstate deploys 'game-changing' device in treatment of stroke symptoms

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Upstate University Hospital is the first hospital in the region use a new device that has shown dramatic improvements in the treatment of stroke patients.

The device, now only available Upstate University Hospital in Central New York, is for the treatment of ischemic stroke. Called the Solitaire FR Revascularization Device, it provides physicians with the ability to restore blood flow and retrieve clots in patients experiencing acute ischemic stroke.

“This is a game-changing device when it comes to treatment of stroke,” said Eric Deshiaes, MD a neurosurgeon at Upstate University Hospital, who performed the first clot retrieval procedure in the region with the Solitaire device in March. “There are fewer complications with this device as we are able to remove the blood clot much easier compared other devices and the outcomes we have seen in our patients with the Solitaire stent have been dramatic.”

Watch Dr. Deshaies explain how the device is used here.

A recent clinical study showed that patients treated with this device had higher rates of neurological function and reduced death from stroke three months after the procedure, compared to patients treated with an alternate device. The device recently was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

To retrieve the blood clot, a neurosurgeon threads a catheter through the patient’s blood vessels to the blocked artery in the brain. A mesh stent, deployed through the catheter, grabs the clot, which is then removed from the artery, enabling blood flow to resume. The first procedure at Upstate took less than 20 minutes. Hours later the patient’s speech was normal and there was no paralysis.

Deshaies says it is important for families and patients to know that not all hospital stroke centers can provide similar procedures. To be a state-designated stroke center, hospitals must be able to deliver the clot-busting drug tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) within three hours of onset of symptoms, but if that time frame is not met or other health conditions make drug administration impossible, patients will need other treatments to keep from suffering a stroke’s paralyzing consequences.

Since 2004, Upstate has been the only hospital in the region able to perform brain clot retrieval and has the ability to give tPA clotbuster medication directly at the site of the clot in the brain. Upstate is the first hospital between Albany and Rochester to use the stent is the only hospital in Syracuse with the technology and specially trained physicians to perform these additional clot retrieval procedures.

Upstate was the first hospital in Syracuse to be recognized as a state-designated stroke center and is the first in New York to be certified as a primary stroke center by the DNV accrediting agency. The Upstate Stroke Center has received American Heart Association’s Get with the Gold Guidelines Gold Plus award for treatment excellence in 2012 and 2011, and is top-rated by Health Grades. For more information on the Upstate Stroke Center go to: www.upstate.ed/stroke.

Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot.

According to the American Heart Association, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. and is a leading cause of long-term disability.

Deshaies urges everyone to know the warning signs of stroke so that you can take quick action and get to an appropriate stroke center. Stroke warning signs are:

Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

At the first sign of any of these symptoms, one should 9-1-1 immediately.