Navigate Up

UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Director
Telephone: 412-417-2582
 

Our Experts

Lawrence Wechsler, M.D.

 

UPMC Studying New High Pressure Water Jet Treatment for Stroke Patients

PITTSBURGH, June 27, 2000 — Physicians at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Stroke Institute are participating in a multi-center research study to test an experimental device for treatment of acute stroke that may be quicker and safer than using clot-busting drugs. The experimental treatment uses pressurized saline moving at 300 mph to break up clots in the brain, vacuum away the debris and restore blood flow to the brain.

"The goal of the use of this experimental device is to open the blood vessel and quickly restore blood flow to the region of the stroke and restore function. It may be possible to remove the blood clot within minutes instead of the 30 to 90 minutes needed for infusion of the clot-busting drug TPA," said Lawrence Wechsler, M.D., professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, director of the Stroke Institute and local principal investigator in the study. "The faster we can restore blood supply to the affected area of the brain, the less damage the stroke will cause."

Called the Thrombectomy In Middle Cerebral Artery Embolism Study 1 (TIME 1), it uses a device called the Angiojet Rheolytic Thrombectomy System made by Possis Medical, Inc.

"We can use this experimental treatment up to six hours after the patient has a stroke compared to intravenous TPA treatment, which only has a three-hour window of opportunity," Dr. Wechsler said.

Patients who are having a stroke and are brought to UPMC Presbyterian Emergency Department first undergo a CT scan to exclude bleeding as the cause of the stroke. Once it is determined that the patient is an appropriate candidate for the experimental treatment, the Angiojet is threaded from the leg artery to the site of the clot in the brain. The Angiojet is then activated to break up the clot and remove the residue. A diagnostic angiogram is then performed after the procedure to confirm dissolution of the clot. Patients may also receive TPA to dissolve any remaining pieces of the clot.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a major cause of serious, long-term disability in adults. According to the American Heart Association, 700,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke every year. On average, someone in the United States suffers a stroke every 53 seconds and 160,000 Americans die each year from stroke.

The phase one, multi-center study will be conducted at six locations throughout the United States and include 30 patients; five will be enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

The Angiojet is currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in breaking up and removing clots in coronary arteries, leg arteries and dialysis access grafts. It is not as yet approved for use in stroke patients. The study is sponsored by Possis Medical, Inc. of Minneapolis, Minn.

The UPMC Stroke Institute is dedicated to the treatment and prevention of stroke. At the institute, UPMC doctors with a wide variety of specialties join together to offer the very latest techniques of stroke diagnosis and treatment. Multispecialty care allows institute physicians to treat stroke patients and patients at risk of stroke who also suffer from heart disease, diabetes, and other serious illnesses. Institute physicians also participate in clinical studies of new stroke treatments that promise to limit or prevent stroke disability.

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com