After three decades of failure, researchers have found a treatment that greatly improves the prognosis for people having the most disabling strokes.
By directly removing big blood clots blocking blood vessels in the brain, they can save brain tissue that otherwise would have died, enabling many people to return to an independent life.
A stent, essentially a small wire cage, on the end of a catheter is inserted in the groin and threaded through an artery to the brain.
When the tip of the catheter reaches the clot, the stent then is opened and pushed into the clot. It snags the clot, enabling the doctor to withdraw the catheter and pull out the stent with the clot attached.
The study, known by the acronym MR CLEAN, was published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine.