Procedure treats clots in stroke patientsWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
With the addition of new machinery and two doctors, Toledo-area stroke patients now have access to a less invasive procedure for treating blood clots in the brain.
“Patients that qualify for this kind of treatment, they did not used to stay here. They’d have to be transferred to other care centers that can be as far as two hours away,” said Dr. Mouhammad Jumaa, who is responsible for the procedure at ProMedica Toledo Hospital and University of Toledo Medical Center, along with Dr. Syed Zaidi.
The neurointerventionalists moved to the area in mid-July after practicing at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. They were welcomed at a reception and unveiling of a new suite at ProMedica Toledo Hospital on July 18.
The procedure is similar to cardiac catheterization, Zaidi said.
“[Patients] present to us with a ruptured aneurysm or an aneurysm, which has not yet ruptured, but needs treatment. This treatment, this endovascular treatment, provides them the opportunity to be treated in a minimally invasive fashion as opposed to open brain surgery. Typically, the way we treat these patients is go through their groin with a small catheter tube all the way to the arteries and the brain, wherever the disease is, and treat it,” he said.
The biplanar thoracoscopy machinery is available at UTMC and Toledo Hospital. But, it’s not the only part of the procedure.
“In addition to purchasing this very expensive machine, we actually had to assemble a team of very experienced nurses and technologists and physicians,” Jumaa said. Usually, the procedure is performed by the two doctors, two nurses, two technologists and an anesthesiologist team. It typically takes one to four hours.
Jumaa said he expects the team to treat 100-150 patients per year. Depending on the condition of a patient, recovery time can be shorter than for open-brain surgery. However, the treatment is not necessarily meant to replace surgery.
“This treatment is complementary to surgery. It’s not a competitor,” Zaidi said. “It’s an asset.”
He added that post-procedure care is very important, something that the Toledo Hospital is well-equipped to do.
In May, Toledo Hospital opened its new “telehealth” stroke center, allowing patients and doctors to interact whether the physician is in or out of the hospital.
Toledo hospital and UTMC are both comprehensive stroke networks. In ProMedica’s model, Toledo Hospital acts as a “hub” or access center with its other hospitals being the spokes, said Kelley Joseph, stroke-care coordinator and registered nurse. The access center is in charge of tracking patients’ transport, whether it be air or mobile.
“They can initiate the team and also coordinate where the bed is available and how to get the patient where they’re gonna go,” Joseph said.
Joseph added that community education on strokes is vital.
“The change is now people realize stroke is an emergency,” she said.
It’s also crucial that anyone who suspects he or she may have had a stroke get in touch with a doctor sooner rather than later.
“When someone has a stroke, they don’t have pain. They just assume they slept wrong, ate wrong and they’re gonna get better. What happens then is they don’t and they wait and they wait and they wait. And by the time they come to us, it’s really too late for us to help them,” Joseph said.