A new approach to stroke treatment initially developed by Dr. Jeffrey Saver’s group at the UCLA Stroke Center combines the ability to restore circulation and remove clots using only a single device … and it’s showing significant promise in trials. In a study comparing the Covidien Solitaire FR Revascularization Device with the FDA-approved Merci Retriever, the device successfully and safely treated roughly 60 percent of stroke patients, compared to roughly 30 percent when the Merci Retriever was used.
Such treatment is intended to minimize brain damage due to lack of oxygen and/or glucose in patients presenting with blockage of large intracranial blood vessels – particularly those for whom the use of clot-dissolving drugs is not advisable.
Roughly speaking, there are four main steps in the operation:
1. Poke a hole in the clot with a microcatheter (roughly 2.5 mm/0.1-inch in diameter).
2. Slide the Solitaire device through the microcatheter until it extends on either side of the clot.
3. Slide the microcatheter back so that the Solitaire device expands and traps the clot.
4. Pull the Solitaire device back to the end of the microcatheter, and use suction to remove the clot from the blood vessel.