High-tech device gives stroke patients hope

“Carle saved my life.” That’s the opinion of Gladys Freed, who suffered a stroke in August.

Vibhav Bansal, MD, a neurologist at Carle Neuroscience Institute, credits the minimally invasive Solitaire™ FR Revascularization device. New to Carle, the device quickly removed a blood clot in Freed’s brain, allowing her to recover completely.

The device restores blood flow in the brain which can reverse brain damage in patients experiencing acute ischemic stroke.

At home this summer, Freed felt dizzy and numb on her right side. She called a friend. While Freed thought she was speaking clearly, her friend could not understand her. The friend called for help, and an ambulance took Freed to Carle. After evaluating Freed in the Emergency Department, Carle’s Stroke Team began using medication to break up the blood clot. A member of the stroke team, Dr. Bansal was on call that day and determined Freed needed even faster treatment.

Bansal used a catheter to guide the Solitaire device to the blood clot. The device captured the clot and sucked it out of the blood vessel, ending the stroke.

“After I woke up, Dr. Bansal came to my room, and asked me to raise my arms and legs and repeat a simple sentence. I was able to move all of my limbs and repeat the sentence back to him,” Freed said. “Dr. Bansal then told me, ‘You’re going to walk out of here.’”

Dr. Bansal explained, “The Solitaire Revascularization device gives us a potent weapon to fight a stroke. The device gets to the hard-to-reach blood vessels in the brain quicker than before. We can then remove the clot in those hard-to-reach vessels completely and give patients a better chance to survive with minimal brain damage. Before using Solitaire, 70-percent of our ischemic stroke patients needed some type of rehabilitation. Now, only 30-percent of our patients need some type of rehab.”

“The faster we can remove the clot, the better chance a person has to recover.”

Carle is the only hospital in east central Illinois that uses Solitaire™ FR Revascularization and is the only certified Primary Stroke Center in the region where neurosurgeons and interventional specialists are available 24/7 to care for patients.

When people suspect they or a loved one is having a stroke, they should call 911 right away. Dr. Bansal warned, “If a person doesn’t get to the hospital quickly, the stroke can seriously damage the brain and we won’t be able to reverse that damage.”

People need to remember “FAST” about stroke symptoms and response:

  • F. Face: Is the face drooping? Ask the person to smile.
  • A. Arms: Ask the person to raise his or her arms. Can he or she raise both arms to the same height?
  • S. Speech: Is speech slurred?
  • T. Time: Call 911 immediately if you suspect a stroke. Don’t wait. The faster people get to the emergency room the better chance they have to survive and recover.

Freed is back to her normal routine. She credits Carle for helping her in her time of need, and offers some wise advice.

“If you experience stroke symptoms, call 911 right away and get to Carle,” Freed concluded.

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