London, August 27 (ANI): A new device that mechanically removes stroke-causing clots from the brain offers new hope to patients who are at risk of developing the condition.
In a recent clinical trial, the SOLITAIRE Flow Restoration Device dramatically outperformed the standard mechanical treatment.
SOLITAIRE, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March, is among an entirely new generation of devices designed to remove blood clots from blocked brain arteries in patients experiencing an ischemic stroke. It has a self-expanding, stent-like design, and once inserted into a blocked artery using a thin catheter tube, it compresses and traps the clot. The clot is then removed by withdrawing the device, reopening the blocked blood vessel.
"This new device is significantly changing the way we can treat ischemic stroke," said the study's lead author, Dr. Jeffrey L. Saver, director of the UCLA Stroke Center and a professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
"We are going from our first generation of clot-removing procedures, which were only moderately good in reopening target arteries, to now having a highly effective tool," he stated.
Results from the trial, called SOLITAIRE With the Intention for Thrombectomy (SWIFT), showed that the device opened blocked vessels without causing symptomatic bleeding in or around the brain in 61 percent of patients.
The standard FDA-approved mechanical device - a corkscrew-type clot remover called the MERCI Retriever - was effective in 24 percent of cases.
The use of SOLITAIRE also led to better survival three months after a stroke. There was a 17.2 percent mortality rate with the new device, compared with a 38.2 percent rate with the older one.
About 87 percent of all strokes are caused by blood clots blocking a blood vessel supplying the brain. The stroke treatment that has received the most study is an FDA-approved clot-busting drug known as tissue plasminogen activator, but this drug must be given within four-and-a-half hours of the onset of stroke symptoms, and even more quickly in older patients.
When clot-busting drugs cannot be used or are ineffective, the clot can sometimes be mechanically removed during, or beyond, the four-and-a-half-hour window. The current study, however, did not compare mechanical clot removal to drug treatment.
Findings from the trial are published online in the journal The Lancet. (ANI)