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Stents Can Treat - Not Just Prevent - Strokes, Suggests Early Research
Date:1/19/2009

HOLLYWOOD, Fla., Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Stents can be placed in the brain to treat a stroke as it's occurring, suggests preliminary data being presented at the 21st Annual International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy (ISET).

Stents have long been used to open up blocked blood vessels in the heart to prevent heart attacks and in the neck to prevent strokes. More recently stents have been used in the heart to treat occurring heart attacks by opening up the blocked arteries. This early research suggests stents also can be used to treat occurring strokes, by opening up blocked arteries in the brain.

Treatments for ischemic stroke currently include delivering clot-busting drugs to the blockage through the veins or directly into the clot through an artery, or by removing the clot with a tiny corkscrew-like device or vacuuming it out. But early research suggests stents may work better than those treatments.

"Most patients had significant improvement; for instance, they could go home rather than having to be placed in a nursing home, which is pretty dramatic," said L. Nelson Hopkins, M.D., professor and chairman of neurosurgery and professor of radiology at the State University of New York at Buffalo, who is presenting the data at ISET. "Stents seem to work when clot-busters or other mechanical devices can't."

The third-leading cause of death in the U.S., stroke is called a brain attack because blood flow and oxygen to part of the brain is cut off. About 85 percent of strokes are ischemic, meaning they're caused by a blocked blood vessel. About 700,000 people suffer an ischemic stroke every year. The remaining 15 percent of strokes are hemorrhagic and are caused by a broken blood vessel. The lack of blood flow and oxygen to the site of the stroke causes the brain tissue to die. About a quarter of people who suffer a stroke die. Another third are severely disabled and may be paral
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SOURCE International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy
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