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Study Supports Use of 'Brain Stents' for Certain Stroke Patients
Date:12/11/2012

TUESDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Certain stroke patients might benefit from angioplasty and the placement of artery-opening stents in brain blood vessels, a new study suggests.

The finding focuses on ischemic strokes -- attacks that occur when blood flow in the brain in blocked, often by a blood clot or fatty deposit. In brain angioplasty, a balloon-tipped catheter is guided to the area of the blockage and the balloon is inflated in order to open the blocked blood vessel. Once the balloon is deflated and withdrawn, a tiny mesh tube called a stent is inserted to help the vessel remain open.

This study included 131 ischemic stroke patients, averaging about 66 years of age, in the Czech Republic. All had suffered a middle cerebral artery blockage. Seventy-five of the patients received a clot-busting drug while the rest were not eligible for such drugs, which must be given within four-and-a-half hours of stroke onset and cannot be given to patients taking blood-thinning drugs.

Due to these types of limitations, many ischemic stroke patients receive no treatment at all, said researcher Dr. Martin Roubec, a neurologist at the University Hospital Ostrava in the Czech Republic, and colleagues.

Of the patients in the study who received a clot-busting drug, 35 percent had a favorable outcome three months after their stroke. Among the patients in which the clot-busting drug failed to re-open the blocked artery, just less than half underwent brain angioplasty/stent replacement while the rest received no additional treatment.

Of the patients who underwent angioplasty/stenting, nearly half had a favorable three-month outcome, compared to just 15 percent of the patients who received no further treatment.

Among the patients who did not receive a clot-busting drug, 31 underwent angioplasty/stenting and 25 received no further treatment. Favorable outcomes were reported in 45 percent of those who underwent angioplasty
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