Baptist Health of Northeast Florida recently participated in a large international clinical study, which found that patients experiencing a large stroke had significantly better recovery after receiving a thrombectomy, plus standard medical management. This outcomes data was compared to patients who received standard medical management alone.
Baptist Health’s Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center was one of 31 medical centers in the world that participated in the study.
What is a thrombectomy?
A thrombectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that is very effective for the treatment of ischemic strokes. Ischemic strokes, also called a “blocked brain vessel,” occur when a blood clot blocks blood flow to the brain.
During a thrombectomy, the physician inserts a catheter, guided by X-rays, into a patient’s blood vessel to remove the clot causing the blockage.
Why is this study significant?
Prior to this study, called SELECT2, thrombectomy treatment was used for patients who experienced strokes with a lesser degree of brain damage. The extent of brain damage is measured with advancing imaging techniques that determine the amount of dead brain tissue and the amount of tissue at risk for further damage.
Previously, patients with a large amount of dead brain tissue may have been excluded from thrombectomy and treated with medical therapy alone, as it was felt thrombectomy increased their risk of a life-threatening brain hemorrhage. Patients with existing damage have much higher rates of death and permanent disability.
The results of the trial show that patients experiencing larger strokes benefit significantly from having a thrombectomy. The lead investigator in the study expects treatment guidelines to change very soon following the positive results.
In fact, because of the superior outcomes, the study ended early.
“It’s an honor to participate in groundbreaking studies like SELECT2,” said Nima Amin Aghaebrahim MD, neurointerventionalist and primary stroke director of Baptist Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center. “Because of our participation, we’re able to bring positive, innovative treatment options to our community earlier than other centers.”
“The results from this study will likely change the future of stroke treatment — and most importantly, will save lives,” added Ricardo Hanel MD, neurosurgeon and co-medical director of Baptist Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center.
Both Aghaebrahim and Hanel represented Baptist Health in this landmark study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
How did this study work?
Patients were randomly assigned to two groups — 178 received thrombectomy and 194 received medical management only. Of the patients who received thrombectomy, almost 20% ended up having functional independence, compared to only 7% of those who received medical management only.
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