“Mechanical thrombectomy is a treatment used to remove a large blood clot from inside a blood vessel in a patient’s brain,” explains Dr John Thornton. “Before this was developed, Irish patients were receiving clot-busting drugs to help dissolve the clot instead of pulling the clot out but what became evident was that these drugs didn’t work as well when there was a large blockage in the brain. Thrombectomy provides the greatest chance of patient recovery from large blockages which cause the most devastating strokes.”
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“If a patient does experience the symptoms of a stroke, it is vital to receive appropriate clinical assessment and scanning in hospital early to confirm it is a blockage of a blood vessel. Patients are then referred to our interventional lab in Beaumont Hospital, the main route to thrombectomy. We will do an endovascular procedure, puncturing the artery and groin to pass a tube in the blood vessels up to the neck and head. Through the tube, we place a stent retriever, which pulls the blood clot out, restoring blood flow to the brain tissue.
When a weakened blood vessel ruptures and spills blood into brain tissue, it’s called a hemorrhagic stroke. The most common cause for the rupture is uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure). There are two other types of weakened blood vessels that can also cause hemorrhagic stroke: aneurysms (swellings within vessels) and arteriovenous malformations or AVMs (abnormal tangles of blood vessels).