Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Floss your head

Hamilton Spectator | Brain cleaner: New stroke treatment can vacuum away deadly blood clots
It's a tiny vacuum cleaner for the brain: A new treatment for stroke victims promises to suction out clogged arteries in hopes of stopping the brain attack before it does permanent harm.

Called Penumbra, the newly approved device is the latest in a series of inside-the-artery attempts to boost recovery from stroke.

...Specialists thread a tiny tube inside a blood vessel at the groin and push it up the body and into the brain until it reaches the clog. Just like a vacuum cleaner, it sucks up the clot bit by bit to restore blood flow.
Before you ask, no, this wouldn't have helped me. I often speak of what happened to me as a "stroke", but strictly speaking it wasn't. A stroke is an arterial block: What I had was a leak, a brain hemorrhage accompanied by swelling.

Still, I have experienced the up-from-the-groin thing, as it is also the route to the artery that was partly blocked when I had my heart attack. When they speak of cardio-catheterization, that's the procedure they mean.

If it sounds weird, well, it beats going straight in through the chest. It means a recovery period measured in days, not months.

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