Acute stroke therapy has finally turned a historic corner. On February 11th, results from four landmark randomized controlled clinical trials were highlighted among numerous studies reported at the
International Stroke Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Each trial, outlined in the table below, demonstrated the striking benefit of catheter-based clot
removal to restore blood flow in brain arteries in patients with the most severe strokes. This breakthrough in acute stroke
therapy echoes the treatment of heart attacks, where catheter-based treatments to open the occluded (or blocked) coronary
artery have demonstrated lessened mortality.
My first exposures to the field of neurointerventinoal surgery were through reading reports from Germany. In 1983, Zeumer, Hacke and Ringelstein reported that three of five patients with typically fatal strokes caused by occlusion of the basilar artery improved after streptokinase, an agent known to dissolve blood clots (called thrombolytic agents), was injected by a catheter into the artery-clogging clot. Read More ...