Dr. Neil Martin, neurosurgeon and co-director of the UCLA Stroke Center, explains why time is of the essence when treating a stroke victim.
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New Ways to Treat a Stroke Male: 16 or 17 years ago Travis we didn’t have anything to do. We would maintain someone’s blood pressure and give them oxygen but now you can actually reverse the stroke. It’s possible to get intravenous TPA. TPA is a medication that is a clot buster and chooses for heart attacks as well and if you give that intravenously it will travel through the circulation right to the clot in the brain and dissolve it in the first couple of hours. But after three or four hours it’s too late to get intravenous TPA it won't work and it creates the risk of hemorrhaging in the brain. Beyond intravenous TPA we give it intra-arterially a microcatheter is introduced by a radiologist directly into the brain artery and the TPA is infused right on to the clot. And very often within that first six hour period that will be effective in restoring circulation. Male: But now new also have surgical options that can be employed even later. Male: Here’s a diagram of a brain blood vessel block to the clot. That may have come from the heart as you showed initially or can come from the carotid artery a plaque in the carotid artery. And that is stopping the circulation to the brain. Oxygen is not being delivered to the brain cells and they're gradually beginning to die. Male: So a great way to think of it is, if this clot blood flows going this way everything beyond this clot that your brain that is dying because there is no oxygen. So what do you here you got a catheter. Male: So in this case it maybe too late to give TAP or didn’t work. A microcatheter is introduced beyond the clot and a small snare that looks like a pigtail or a corkscrew comes back skewers the clot and mechanically extracts it. Male: So you're literally going in there and pulling that clot out. Male: Right. Male: And then restoring blood flow to all this distal regions of the brain. Male: Right, you can stop a stroke dead in and extracts your brain is you. Ones you’ve lost that function, you’ve lost a piece of yourself forever. Male: But there is hope and thank you for sharing those treatments with us Dr. Martin.