Stents can be placed in the brain to treat a stroke as it is occurring, suggests preliminary data presented at the 21st annual International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy (ISET) this week in Hollywood, Fla.
The researchers said that their early research suggests stents also can be used to treat occurring strokes, by opening up blocked arteries in the brain.
“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, MD, 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 researchers from SUNY Buffalo in New York are reporting preliminary results on 16 patients who received stents to treat their strokes as part of a single-center investigational device exemption (IDE) from the FDA, with principal investigator Elad Levy, MD.
They placed stents and opened blocked arteries in the brain in all 16 patients and 11 patients (69 percent) had significant improvement in their stroke symptoms, according to Hopkins.
Clot-busting drugs only work about half the time because the blockage can be sticky and adhere to the artery, Hopkins reported
The researchers used CT perfusion to determine if the use of a stent would be beneficial.
“With CT perfusion we can tell if the brain is dead or alive,” according to Hopkins. “Some patients experience brain death within an hour; others can have a viable brain 24 hours after the stroke starts.” In those cases, it may still possible to place a stent.