Advancements in Stroke Treatments TPA is the preferred treatment method for ischemic strokes. However, an emerging treatment for these types of strokes is the Mechanical Embolus Removal in Cerebral Ischemia (MERCI) retriever. This device can physically remove a blood clot in someone having an ischemic stroke. Since its first use in 2001, the MERCI retriever has treated approximately 10,000 people. However, the drawback is that many surgeons still need to be trained in its use, and hospitals need to purchase the equipment, which can be very expensive. While TPA is still the most commonly used treatment for ischemic strokes, the MERCI retriever may increase in popularity as more surgeons become trained in its use.
Hemorrhagic stroke treatments have also come a long way. If the effects of a hemorrhagic stroke affect a large portion of the brain, doctors may recommend surgery in an attempt to reduce long-term damage and relieve pressure on the brain. Surgical treatments for hemorrhagic stroke include:
Surgical clipping: This operation involves placing a clip to the base of the area causing the bleeding. The clip stops the blood flow and helps prevent the area from bleeding again.
Coiling: This procedure involves guiding a wire through the groin and up to the brain while inserting small coils to fill areas of weakness and bleeding. This can potentially stop any bleeding.
Surgical removal: If the area of bleeding can’t be repaired through other methods, a surgeon may move a small section of the damaged area. However, this surgery is often a last resort because it is considered very high risk and can’t be performed on many areas of the brain.
Other treatments may be required, depending on the location and severity of the bleeding.
Advancements in Stroke Prevention
While stroke continues to be a leading cause of disability, approximately 80 percent of strokes are preventable. Thanks to recent research and advancements in treatment, doctors can now recommend prevention strategies for those who are at risk of having a stroke. Known risk factors for stroke include:
People who have these risk factors should talk to their doctor about how they can lower their risk for stroke. Doctors often recommend taking the following preventive measures: quitting smoking taking anticoagulant medications to prevent blood clotting taking medications to control high blood pressure or diabetes eating a healthy diet low in sodium and rich in fruits and vegetables exercising three to four days a week for at least 40 minutes a day
While a stroke can’t always be prevented, taking these steps can help to minimize your risk as much as possible.
A stroke is a life-threatening medical event that can cause lasting brain damage and long-term disabilities. Seeking treatment immediately can increase the likelihood that you or a loved one receive one of the innovative treatments used to treat stroke and minimize complications.