The FDA Approves A Revolutionary New Treatment For Victims of Stroke - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Health Watch - 8/16/04

The FDA Approves A Revolutionary New Treatment For Victims of Stroke

Looking at her today, it's hard to imagine that three months ago, 28 year old Heather Williams had a massive stroke.

"I had no idea I was having a stroke. Honestly, I didn't know what was going on."

Two hour after her stroke began, Williams could not speak or even move her tongue. One leg and one arm are paralyzed.

Dr. Thomas Grobelnyl/St. Luke's Hospital: "The brain is dying because it doesn't have a blood flow, and we know the blood is necessary to deliver oxygen to the brain."

Doctors tried giving Williams traditional clot-busting drugs, but they can take hours to work and are rarely effective on an artery completely blocked.

Doctors used a revolutionary new device -- a tiny coiled wire -- a "corkscrew" for the brain.

Doctors inserted the wire into an artery in her leg and began to thread it up to her neck and into her brain. Doctors then twisted the corkscrew into the blood clot, and gently pulled.

Dr. Thomas Grobelnyl/St. Luke's Hospital: "We used several passes, and on each pass we retrieved tiny amounts of clot."

In less than an hour, blood was flowing freely throughout her brain. Within two days, Heather Williams was talking.

Now that the FDA has approved the corkscrew, tens of thousands of stroke victims, such as Williams, might be saved each year.

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