This medical video focuses on a new corkscrew device that can help with brain clots.
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Jennifer Matthews: Olivia Larwood doesn't realize how close she came to losing her mom. Two weeks after delivering Olivia by c-section, Michelle suffered a stroke in her doctor's office. Michelle Larwood: I just froze, and she asked me, 'Can you speak?' And I just nodded, 'no.' I couldn't move anything. Jennifer Matthews: Doctors found a blood clot in Michelle's brain. Her recent c-section disqualified her for the only clot-busting drug available. Doctors at UCLA offered the experimental merci retriever -- a corkscrew for brain clots. Bill Larwood: It was either that or do nothing. Jennifer Matthews: The retriever is a long, thin wire threaded through a catheter into the blood vessel. When it's pushed through, it reshapes itself into tiny loops, latches on, and pulls out the clot. Doctors say it's a design that works. Dr. Reza Jahan: On the one hand, you want it to be soft enough, so it is safe when you deploy this device in the blood vessels in the brain. On the other hand, you want it to be stiff enough, so that it grabs the clot and pulls it back. Jennifer Matthews: The retriever can be used up to eight hours into a stroke -- compared to the three-hour-window required for drugs. It may also be the only option for stroke victims who have recently had surgery. Michelle Larwood: I wouldn't be able to be here with my husband and be here with my child. That would have been it. Jennifer Matthews: Instead, this 36-year-old mom is back to normal. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.