Experienced stroke specialists use this minimally invasive technique to remove blood clots from the brain when other treatments aren’t successful.
We are among the first programs in the region offering mechanical thrombectomy for stroke that does not respond to clot-busting drugs. Mechanical thrombectomy can improve the chance of a good long-term outcome, and help keep you near care close to home.
A stroke occurs when there’s a disruption of blood flow to the brain and is typically due to a clot blocking a blood vessel. Emergency care often includes the clot-busting drug, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA).
In some cases, tPA does not dissolve the clot. Or, tPA might not be an option if too much time has passed since your symptoms started. In this case, it may be possible to clear the clot using mechanical thrombectomy.
If you or a loved one experiences stroke-like symptoms, including sudden numbness and difficulty moving or talking, dial 911. This is the quickest way to access emergency emergency stroke care.
What Is Mechanical Thrombectomy?
Mechanical thrombectomy is an endovascular technique for removing blood clots from the brain after an ischemic stroke. After making a small incision in the groin, doctors thread thin tubes (catheters) through your blood vessels to the clot. A tiny device at the catheter's tip grabs the clot and removes it, restoring blood flow to the brain.
Mechanical thrombectomy, also known as endovascular therapy, is gentler on your body than surgical thrombectomy. You avoid the larger incisions and disruption to parts of your skull that are necessary with a surgical procedure.
Our extensive experience from regularly performing mechanical thrombectomies gives you chances for good results. Patients who come to us with severe strokes get a second chance at life after mechanical thrombectomy. They regain their ability to speak, drive a car and return to their favorite activities.
Highlights of our program include:
- National recognition: The Joint Commission certifies some of our locations, including Danbury Hospital, Norwalk Hospital, Sharon Hospital and Vassar Brothers Medical Center as Primary Stroke Centers. This recognition means we have doctors and nurses available around the clock who deliver leading stroke care. Norwalk Hospital also earned Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center Certification from the Joint Commission. Find out more about acute stroke treatment.
- Skilled specialists: Fellowship-trained neurologists specializing in endovascular techniques perform mechanical thrombectomy. This level of training leads to safe care even for complex cases.
- Advanced imaging: We use leading neuroimaging technologies to plan a safe procedure. These tests show which areas of the brain the stroke is impacting, enabling us to determine whether mechanical thrombectomy can help you.
We use mechanical thrombectomy to treat ischemic stroke. With this type of stroke, a clot gets trapped in a blood vessel, preventing it from supplying oxygen-rich blood to the brain.
There are two types of ischemic stroke:
- Embolic stroke happens when a clot in some other part of the body breaks off and travels to the brain.
- Thrombotic stroke is due to a blood clot that develops in an artery that delivers blood to the brain.
Mechanical Thrombectomy: What to Expect
If mechanical thrombectomy is right for you, here’s how it works:
- An endovascular specialist makes a small incision in your groin.
- Using real-time X-ray-guided imaging, we thread a catheter through an artery that leads to your neck and brain.
- Once we reach the clot, specialists insert a device (stent retriever) into the catheter and advance it past the blood clot.
- The device expands to stretch the walls of the artery and grab the clot.
- We then pull the stent retriever with the clot back through the artery and out through the incision.