TUESDAY, Jan. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Stents can be used to unclog arteries in the brain as a stroke is occurring, according to research presented at the 21st Annual International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy, held from Jan. 18 to 22 in Miami.
Elad Levy, M.D., of the State University of New York at Buffalo, and colleagues conducted a study with 16 patients who were treated for stroke under a U.S. Food and Drug Administration Investigational Device Exemption using stents to unblock arteries in the brain. The researchers used computed tomography to assess which patients still had viable brain activity 24 hours after onset of stroke and used a minimally invasive technique to insert a collapsed stent.
After treatment with a stent there was significant improvement in the stroke symptoms of 11 (69 percent) of the patients, the investigators report. This was a higher success rate than clot-busting drugs, which typically only help half of patients treated, the authors note.
"Most patients had significant improvement; for instance, they could go home rather than having to be placed in a nursing home, which is pretty dramatic," said L. Nelson Hopkins, M.D., who presented the research, in a statement. "Stents seem to work when clot-busters or other mechanical devices can't."