In the event of a stroke, the foremost concern in ensuring minimum damage. The sooner the event can be responded to, the lower the potential for damage to brain tissue. This has to do with the body's inability to deliver oxygen to the brain during a stroke. Currently, most treatments for stroke patients involve administering drugs that can reduce blood clots blocking oxygen to the brain. According to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, though, treating patients via a stent procedure may be a better option.
Understanding the different kinds of stroke
Contrary to popular belief, there is actually more than one kind of stroke. Medical News Today says the two types of the condition are ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. Ischemic stroke, which is more common by a considerable margin, involves a clot developing in a blood vessel that leads to the brain. That blood vessel can no longer transport enough blood to one or several parts of the brain, causing oxygen deprivation. In hemorrhagic strokes, a rupture of a blood vessel within the brain occurs. Both can cause permanent damage, but stent treatment may work to greatly improve the outcome of one of them.
A team of researchers from more than a dozen Dutch hospitals set out to study treatment methods for individuals who suffered from ischemic stroke. There is a simple and established protocol for treating it. Most patients are given high doses of blood thinners, but this practice isn't particularly effective. Researchers believed that they could improve outcomes by administering a stent, a sort of tube that enters the affected vessel to retrieve the clot, in these individuals. In order to do so, 500 patients experiencing the onset of ischemic stroke were randomly assigned to one of two treatment methods. There were 233 subjects who received the stent and the blood-thinning treatment while the remaining 267 received only the original blood-thinning treatment.
While any single study can not be called completely conclusive, the results strongly suggest that the pairing of stent treatment with blood thinners is the better option. Following treatment, those who had received the stent treatment were considerably less likely to have difficulty reestablishing basic mobility, such as walking and dressing themselves, than those who did not. Further, these patients had less brain damage from their strokes, on average, than those who only were given blood thinners.