When you have a stroke, every second counts. It’s crucial to get immediate medical treatment from a team of healthcare professionals experienced in restoring proper blood flow to the brain. Interventional neuroradiologists in the Sutter Health network utilize stent retrievers, a newer innovation, to quickly treat large blockages caused by acute ischemic stroke.
Acute ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks blood flow to the brain, cutting off the oxygen supply that keeps your brain cells alive. If not treated promptly, your brain can suffer severe damage and the results can be life-threatening.
Stent retrievers, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2012, are tiny mesh tubes that grab and extract blood clots in blocked arteries. These devices are used in conjunction with a highly flexible, thin suction catheter, that’s threaded into the femoral artery in your groin and up into the arteries in your brain. Once near the blood clot, the stent retriever springs open and enmeshes itself in the blood clot. As the catheter’s suction begins, the stent retriever is retracted and the clot is pulled out.
Treatment using stent retrievers should start as soon as possible. Some treatment can take place up to 24 hours of symptom onset, according to guidelines set forth in the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association’s 2018 stroke care manual for healthcare professionals. Care teams at Sutter’s nationally recognized comprehensive Stroke Care Centers follow these guidelines, providing quick, effective treatment to help minimize damage to your brain cells.