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Health Information Under the Microscope: New Option for Stroke Treatment
 

Rush is the first hospital in Illinois to offer a new inside-the-artery procedure.

The number of stroke cases reported each year doesn't seem to be slowing down. But neither is the advancement of new treatment devices.

Rush University Medical Center is the first hospital in Illinois to use a device called the MAX System that removes blood clots from within the artery to treat ischemic strokes, which account for about 87 percent of all cases. The MAX System has been found to be faster than other similar devices.

"This is the only inside-the-artery device to use suction at the point of the clot to enable complete, safer clot removal," says Demetrius Lopes, MD, director of neuroendovascular surgery at Rush. Lopes is among the first physicians in the country to use the new technology.

Strokes occur when an artery in the brain is blocked or bursts, depriving the brain of the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function. Approximately 800,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year. Ischemic stroke, when an artery is completely blocked by a blood clot, happens every 40 seconds in the United States and is the fourth leading cause of death in the nation.

"The MAX System allows quicker clot removal with potential to restore blood flow faster than alternative technologies, which is critical when treatment time means saving brain cells," Lopes says.

Proven in Practice

Gale, a native of Dyer, Ind., and a 50-year-old mother of two teenagers, suffered a stroke in April. She was rushed to a community hospital where she was treated with tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, an intravenous drug therapy used to dissolve blood clots. The drug, however, wasn't effective in treating Gale's blood clot, so she was transferred to Rush for advanced stroke care.

If tPA isn't helpful or it isn't administered within three to 4½ hours, patients are transported to an advanced stroke center such as Rush, where they receive an inside-the-artery clot removal procedure.

Lopes used one such option, the MAX System, to treat Gale, and the clot was gone and blood flow was restored.

Besides the MAX System, Rush has other procedures that are used when drugs don’t dissolve blood clots. They include neuroendovascular services, which use minimally invasive techniques to gain access within arteries and veins to treat the clot.

"Within three months, Gale returned to all the activities she enjoys and says she feels like nothing even happened," Lopes says.


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Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush Online are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.

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