Stroke doesn’t come with much warning and doesn’t leave the person with much time too to seek help before causing worse nightmares, disabling the person permanently or leaving him/her with a whirlwind of problems. Stroke is nothing but an interruption of blood flow to the brain which results in loss of neurological functions. This interruption, when it is in the form of blockage results in ischemic stroke-the most-common form of stroke in more than 85% of stroke-affected people. Sooner that blood flow to the brain is restored better it is for the individual. Lack of oxygen and nutrients puts the brain cells at an increased risk of damage or death. This damage is irreversible mostly and might be cognitive, physical or mental damage.
Re-routing Blood Flow to the Brain
The percentage of damage or recovery in a stroke-affected person depends on how quickly the condition is identified. Such a clause doesn’t surprise us when FAST is used as an acronym to identify stroke occurrence in people where it stands for Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties and Time to call emergency services. Be fast to understand FAST and take the necessary action (if you wish to know what it is, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com) immediately to save the patient. But once stroke is identified quickly physicians can save the patient with the help of clot-busting drugs and other procedures to enable continuous blood flow to the brain. The damage to brain cells doesn’t stop where the blood flow is cut off but the damage continues to spread rapidly unless preventive measures are taken. The area surrounding the dying region (penumbra) can be saved when blood flow is normalized and further damage might be prevented henceforth.
Physical Clot Removal
While the physical removal of blockage for up to six hours after stroke is advantageous to the patient and has been approved a new trial wanted to find out whether the same advantages hold good and if it is possible to remove the clot safely up to 16 hours after stroke in a patient. Of the 182 participants 92 of them were randomly assigned to receive both thrombectomy and standard medical therapy while another 90 of them received medical therapy (control) alone. All the participants were examined at the beginning, the next day after randomization, after discharge from the hospital and at 30 and 90 days respectively.
It was found that three months after the procedure fewer patients (14%) who had their clot removal procedure done died compared to controls (26%). Almost 45% patients who received thrombectomy were more functionally independent compared to 17% of controls. On a positive note, neither of the two groups faced any serious side effects. Though the study was to be pursued for a longer period there was no need for it as the team could identify overwhelming benefits from the clot removal procedure.
The study results show that such physical intervention to remove blood clot has a positive effect on people curbing their risk to death or permanent disability. While stroke exists as a condition which needs immediate intervention to save the patient’s life, the new research comes as a pleasant surprise to all of us as this provides physicians with a possibility to treat it even hours after the initial symptoms. Everything has got its pros and cons in life and so does thrombolysis. While minor risks involve bruising the punctured site in the neck or groin in the affected limb major risks involve the risk of blood clot travelling deeper into the artery or vein or maybe even an injury to the affected area after treatment. There are possibilities of bleeding too as a result of thrombolysis and thrombectomy and when this is the case, the treatment must be stopped immediately.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.
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