Mechanical clot removal safe for small stroke damage, study says

By Tauren Dyson

Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Mechanical clot removal has proven to be safe for stroke patients with a small amount of brain damage, new research says.

About 35 percent of large core stroke patients who had clots removed mechanically regained functional independence in three months, according to a new study presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2019.


A large core stroke, which is a large area of tissue damage, isn't usually treated mechanically.

"Outcomes in stroke patients treated with thrombectomy (mechanical clot removal) is affected by the size of the stroke -- the larger the stroke, the worse the outcome," Amrou Sarraj, associate professor of neurology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and study lead author, said in a news release.

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The results, however, weren't all good. The bigger the damage from the stroke, the more likely mechanical clot removal would cause brain bleeding or death.

Up to 75 percent of patients whose strokes caused more than 100 mL of damage had brain bleeding after mechanical clot removal. And up to 50 percent of patients with the same level of damage died after receiving the same treatment.


Each year, nearly 800,000 people in the United States have a stroke, and about 140,000 die.

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Since mechanical clot removal can pose harm to some stroke patients, researchers plan to use advanced CT scans to identify the best candidates for the procedure.

"The addition of perfusion imaging may help identify the best candidates who can benefit the most by thrombectomy procedure, which we implemented in the design of upcoming SELECT 2 trial," Sarraj said.

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