During the past 15 years, the Saint Luke’s has been repeatedly recognized as one of the nation's preeminent stroke centers.
Approximately 80% of strokes are caused by the cessation of blood flow through arteries of the brain. This results in immediate loss of brain function with symptoms such as weakness, speech disturbance, numbness and loss of vision. Without the prompt restoration of blood flow, permanent brain damage occurs.
Recognizing the truly emergent nature of stroke, Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City maintains continuous coverage by a stroke specialist. Patients presenting with stroke undergo an urgent clinical, laboratory, and brain imaging evaluation. Patients are considered for the intravenous “clot busting” drug TPA to restore blood flow. Patients failing to improve after this treatment or patients not able to safely receive the drug are considered for an emergent angiogram procedure.
Approximately 120 stroke patients are treated emergently each year by the neurointerventional team at Saint Luke's in Kansas City. Treatment begins with an emergent angiogram. Once the site of blockage within the artery is located, several strategies can be employed to restore blood flow to the blocked vessel. Strategies include snaring the clot and pulling it out of the body, removing the clot by suction, stenting an artery open, and breaking down the clot with TPA delivered directly to the clot. Using one or more of these strategies, in the majority of cases, it is possible to restore blood flow and limit brain damage.
For additional information about stroke and the Saint Luke's Neuroscience Institute click here.
The image on the left demonstrates occlusion of the middle cerebral artery by a clot (marked by *). The clot was
successfully retrieved using the Merci system and blood flow to the side of the brain was fully restored (right).
Shown here is an example of a clot retrieved from a brain artery using the Merci system.