New Technology Prevents Small Strokes

Acute strokes are the third leading cause of death in the U.S and the leading cause of disability.

It happens when a clot blocks blood supply to the part of the brain.

If patients are not treated with an I-V drug within three hours of a stroke doctors use a corkscrew to reach the brain clot and pull it out.

Since it can be risky a new device called the penumbra works without going into the clot.

"This device comes to us as a tremendous gift, to finally be able to address a problem that has been haunting us for years and years," says Dr. Demetrius Lopez of Rush University Medical Center.

Here's how it works:

Doctors snake the penumbra up to the brain, through an incision in the leg.

If the clot is soft, the device breaks it up and sucks it in from the front.

If the clot is hard, a wire basket fits around the clot and pulls it in.

The penumbra can be used up to 8-hours after a stroke, so far 20 patients have received it however more studies are needed.

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