This health video focuses on the use of stents in stroke victims.
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Jennifer Matthews: Esther Kornel enjoys reading, music, and family. Life is good. So it was a terrible shock to find out she was at serious risk for a stroke. Esther Kornel: I never thought at this point in my life I would have something that dangerous. Jennifer Matthews: Luckily, Esther was a good candidate for a new, breakthrough procedure to lower her risk. Researchers at Rush university medical center in Chicago are the first to use the wingspan -- a stent designed specifically for the brain. Before now, surgeons had to use stents made for the heart. Dr. Demetrius Lopes: A lot of times, you were not able to achieve the procedure - have success in the procedure because of the stent being too rigid. Jennifer Matthews: The stent is used in patients who have blocked brain vessels. 80 percent of strokes are caused by those blockages. Here's how it works: a balloon is threaded through the brain's vessels and cracks the plaque build-up at the problem site. Then comes the stent, with a wire mesh that expands to keep the artery open. Dr. Demetrius Lopes: This year, we had a number of new inventions and new technologies developed, and I would rate this one as the number one invention of the year. Jennifer Matthews: Invented just in time to help Esther. Esther Kornel: So, I'm very happy that I have this option. Jennifer Matthews: And happy she can go on with her life without worrying about her health. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.