New ways to treat strokes
February 7, 1997
Web posted at 12:00 a.m. EST
From Correspondent Dan Rutz
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Doctors in Los Angeles have devised a bold new way to treat strokes. The idea: reverse the direction that blood flows through the brain.
"We have a couple of exciting instances," said Dr. John Frazee of the University of California. "The second patient that we treated, we treated for only about ten minutes and suddenly this patient was back to normal."
With most strokes, a blood clot lodges in an artery in the brain, blocking blood flow from that point on. The deprived area quickly gets sick and may die.
The UCLA doctors have found a way to bring blood into a brain from the opposite direction.
"There were a lot of concerns," said Frazee.
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Consider stroke victim Bill Boyers. X-rays depicted the site of his stroke; the artery ends where the blood can't pass. After the treatment, the X-ray of Boyers shows that the clot has been dislodged.
Frazee compares the standard remedy for strokes, clot-busting drugs, to "Drano in the sink." He explains: "When you put the Drano in it takes a period of time to work and every minute that goes by is potential loss of brain tissue. So what we're tying to do is resuscitate the brain quickly and then take all the time that's necessary for those drugs to have their effect."
Those who are treated within seven hours and are in reasonably good health prior to the stroke seem to do best.
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