New Technique Successfully Dissolves Blood Clots in the Brain and Lowers Risk of Brain Damage After Stroke
CT-guided catheters carry clot-busting drug to shrink clots, Johns Hopkins-led study shows.
Johns Hopkins neurologists report success with a new means of getting rid of potentially lethal blood clots in the brain safely without cutting through easily damaged brain tissue or removing large pieces of skull. The minimally invasive treatment, they report, increased the number of patients with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) who could function independently by 10 to 15 percent six months following the procedure.
The new study was coordinated by Johns Hopkins and the surgical review centers at the University of Cincinnati and the University of Chicago. All 93 patients were diagnosed with ICH, a particularly lethal or debilitating form of stroke long considered surgically untreatable under most circumstances.
“The last untreatable form of stroke may well have a treatment,” says study leader Daniel F. Hanley, M.D., a professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “If a larger study proves our findings correct, we may substantially reduce the burden of strokes for patients and their families by increasing the number of people who can be independent again after suffering a stroke.”
ICH is a bleed in the brain that causes a clot to form, often caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure. The clot builds up pressure and leaches inflammatory chemicals that can cause irreversible brain damage, often leading to death or extreme disability. The standard of care for ICH patients is general supportive care, usually in an ICU; only 10 percent undergo the more invasive and risky craniotomy surgery, which involves removing a portion of the skull and making incisions through healthy brain tissue to reach and remove the clot. Roughly 50 percent of people who suffer an intracerebral hemorrhage die from it. For more information: