Swedish Medical Center First To Introduce Simple, Fast Technology For Stroke Patients

Sep 18, 2012, 13:05 ET from Swedish Medical Center

Denver and Surrounding Region to Benefit from New Ischemic Stroke Treatment

DENVER, Sept. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Swedish Medical Center has become the first advanced care center in the state to bring an innovative medical device to its stroke care protocol, aimed at treating ischemic stroke patients faster and more efficiently than ever before. The device, known as the MAX System of Reperfusion Catheters and manufactured by Penumbra, Inc., is yet another tool for physicians in Swedish Medical Center's arsenal of unmatched stroke care for residents of Denver and the surrounding region.

Ischemic strokes are caused by a blood clot or embolism that stops blood flow to the brain.  About 85 percent of strokes are ischemic, occur every 40 seconds in the U.S. and is the fourth leading cause of death. The new MAX Catheters provide a better alternative to the standard guidewire used by physicians to navigate the arteries to the brain. The procedure can be used to open the blood vessels of an ischemic stroke patient within eight hours of symptom onset. Swedish Medical Center uses the MAX System in conjunction with intravenous clot-busting drug, t-PA or when those drugs can't be used.

"The MAX System represents a significant advancement in stroke treatment, bringing urgent and needed relief to a large population of stroke patients," said Swedish Medical Center's Neurointerventional Radiologist Don Frei, M.D. "The ability to quickly and easily treat patients with a 4MAX catheter over a standard guidewire gives us more time to concentrate on treating the stroke. And we know that time is of the essence when treating strokes. This new device also allows us to remove the clot more efficiently. It has become the front line device for stroke patients at Swedish Medical Center."

According to Dr. Frei, nearly 800,000 Americans will suffer a stroke this year, yet most people in the U.S. cannot identify stroke warning signs or risk factors. Dr. Frei reminds residents to remember the FAST test as a method of recognizing warning signs:

F – Face: Ask the person to smile, does one side of the face drooping down?
A – Arm: Can the person raise both arms?
S – Speech: Is speech slurred or confusing? Is the person able to speak?
T – Time: Time is critical. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

During a stroke, an estimated 30,000 brain cells die per second, so a patient's outcomes and recovery are far better the quicker the patient is evaluated and treated.  People with a family history of stroke are more likely to have a stroke, and by 2030, it is estimated that 4 million people will have had a stroke. This is nearly 25 percent higher than 2010 estimates.

SOURCE Swedish Medical Center