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Palmetto Health Stroke Center adds new treatment for Ischemic Stroke to its Treatment Protocol during National Stroke Month
05/17/2012
Stroke Center reminds community of Stroke Warning Signs

Columbia, SC – Palmetto Health Stroke Center now has a new treatment for ischemic stroke. The device, Covidien SolitaireTM, combines the ability to restore blood flow and retrieve clots in patients experiencing acute ischemic stroke. Solitaire, recently FDA approved, is a stent-assisted technology used for removal of the clot, restoration of blood supply to the effected brain tissue and revival of neurological tissue.

“The effects of stroke on a person’s long-term quality of life can be devastating,” said Dr. William Savoca, Palmetto Health radiologist who has performed the procedure. “We want to do everything in our power to improve a patient’s chances for a full recovery and this is another tool we now can use.”

Savoca recently cared for a patient who benefited tremendously from the new treatment. The patient experienced numbness on his left side. His family dialed 911 and EMS brought him to the Stroke Center at Palmetto Health. Although he was given tPA, a clot busting medicine, it was not breaking up the clot. After additional testing by neurologists, the new device was used by Savoca to quickly restore blood supply to the brain and remove the clot. In 24 hours, the patient had shown significant improvement. Savoca said, “His situation had him at risk for a major disabling stroke or even death. We are all grateful that he could walk out of the hospital within 72 hours.”

Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot. According to the American Heart Association, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. and is a leading cause of long-term disability. In 2010, stroke cost the U.S. an estimated $54 billion, including the cost of health-care services, medications and missed days of work. Approximately 700,000 people each year in the U.S. suffer from acute ischemic stroke.

Palmetto Health recognizes May as National Stroke Awareness Month and encourages the community to recognize the warning signs and learn more about the risk factors of stroke. Most people are unaware that stroke is largely preventable. Palmetto Health is pioneering new approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of stroke. Palmetto Health Richland’s Stroke Center has a unique stroke team that was developed to assess and treat patients.

The National Stroke Association reports that up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented by working with a healthcare professional to reduce personal risk. The leading causes of stroke and the most important controllable risk factors for stroke are:

•High Cholesterol
•Smoking
•High Blood Pressure
•Diabetes

Palmetto Health’s Stroke Center is led by Dr. Souvik Sen, an internationally known neurologist who specializes in stroke care and stroke research. “If you have any one of these conditions, it is suggested that you see your local physician,” said Sen. “In addition to that, regularly exercising, watching your diet, and stopping smoking also reduces your risk of having a stroke.”

Sen also emphasizes the importance of knowing the warning signs of stroke and learning what to do in such an emergency. “There are five classic signs and symptoms of stroke,” said Sen, “Weakness affecting the face, arm or leg, numbness or lack of sensation in the face, arm or leg, difficulty with speech, either slurred speech, difficulty getting the words out or difficulty comprehending, and vision difficulty.”

Getting to the hospital quickly is vital in getting treatment and preventing permanent damage. So, if you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms for more than a few minutes, call 9-1-1 immediately.

For more information on the Palmetto Health Stroke Center, please call 803-296-CARE(2273) or visit PalmettoHealth.org/StrokeCenter.

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