The Washington Post reported, on January 24, 2018, reported that new technology may give physicians more time to treat strokes. Physicians used to believe they had only six hours to act to treat brain tissue damage caused by blockages of major vessels to the brain. New research indicates doctors may have up to 16 hours to respond. The new research even suggests some threats to tissue damage can be treated in 24 hours.
Why the new medical brain damage research is significant
Gregory W. Albers, a Stanford University Medical Center neurology professor, said that the studies show that, for most patients, collateral blood vessels help to feed the brain the blood and oxygen it needs after a stroke. This feeding gives the doctors more time to treat the damage tissue. Professor Albers indicated that these new findings alter how a stroke is triaged (prioritized) and how it is assessed.
The director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders (NIND) said that the new research will help save patients from death and life-long disabilities. NIND funded the new study.
According to the Washington Post article, about 800,000 people have strokes yearly. In 2016, more than 142,000 people were killed from a stroke. Most strokes are caused by clots or blocked blood vessels which reduce the blood supply to the brain.
The brain blockage studies
The DEFUSE 3 study examined 182 patients across 38 medical facilities who showed the signs and symptoms of a severe blockage (blockages that normally result in death or a catastrophic disability).
- ½ the patients received traditional care including blood thinners, blood pressure drugs, and other treatments.
- In the other ½ of the cases, doctors took the time to take diagnostic images, use a clot removal procedure called thrombectomy, and use medications.
- The imaging test used on the second half of the patients was a special CT scan, according to professor Albers. It uses a dye which shows damaged tissue and dead tissue. if the CT scan confirms the need to act, doctors can remove the clot if they do the surgery within 16 hours from the date of the brain injury. The test can be read on a cellphone.
- The new research will be especially helpful to patients who live remotely from a hospital or who suffer a stoke while sleeping and don’t even think about getting to the hospital until the next morning.
The study showed that only 14% of those patients who had the thrombectomy died compared to 25% who just received the medications. 45% of the patients who had the thrombectomy were able to resume functionally normal lives.
Professor Albers’ research expanded on a previous study, called DAWN, conducted by a clot-removing device manufacturer. Both the DAWN and the DEFUSE 3 studies were reported in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.
When a loved one dies because they suffered a TBI due to someone else’s negligence, our Gladiators in Suits file wrongful death actions on behalf of the family members. If a loved one suffers permanent or temporary brain damage due to a stroke, our Nashville, Hendersonville, and Knoxville lawyers demand that the wrongdoers be held accountable. We file claims for all medical bills, the loss of quality of life, pain and suffering, and for other damages. Please call the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm today to speak with a trusted stroke attorney. You can reach us at 615-246-5549 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment.