Medical Moment: Putting strokes on ice

Lena and Clifford Hooe began their life together with a kick-kick-turn and slide. It’s been 20 years and they’ve never stopped dancing.

“He’s energetic, he’s like a little boy” said Lena Hooe.

From tennis, to tae kwan do Clifford lives to learn. He was off to kick boxing class when he was hit with the unexpected.

"He had fallen and he said I can't get up” said Lena Hooe.

"Oh no, not me. Please” thought Clifford Hooe

Doctors treated this first stroke with drugs, Clifford recovered completely, but then a second stroke.

"It can't be happening again. It just can't” thought Clifford of his second stroke.

Clifford was paralyzed on his left side. Doctors at Cedars Sinai used hypothermia to cool his body, stopping inflammation and slowing his metabolism, allowing his brain time to rest.

"If we begin to cool them within six hours, we have the chance for a complete salvage” said Dr. Patrick Lyden.

An ice cold device sits in the body’s largest vein and cools the blood directly.

"We put a catheter inside the body and cool the blood stream from inside out” said Lyden.

The body’s temperature cooled to 33 degrees for 24 hours. Then, it’s slowly brought back to normal temperature. Doctor Patrick Lyden says next to clot-busting drugs “I view hypothermia as the biggest breakthrough of our lifetime.”

Although this stroke slowed Clifford down without the hypothermia treatment things could have been much worse. He’s thankful for his doctors and his dancing partner

"I want to hold my wife tight and give her a big kiss for all she's done for me” said Clifford Hooe.

Twenty hospitals across the country are currently using hypothermia, but only in patients under 80 years old because there is a risk of pneumonia.

Doctor Lyden says he has not seen any damage done to any other organs because of the cooling.

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