(May 18, 2007 - Brooklyn, NY) - During National Stroke Awareness Month, Brooklyn residents are urged to learn more about this potentially devastating condition. The Maimonides Stroke Center is led by several of the nation’s leading stroke experts, and they continually share their expertise in the ongoing battle against stroke. When every second counts, the Stroke Team at Maimonides provides the most advanced treatments to save lives and minimize disability.
There are several accredited primary stroke centers in Brooklyn, but the comprehensive services offered at Maimonides set it apart from other institutions. Among the many technological innovations is the Interventional Neuroradiology Service. These highly trained specialists perform minimally invasive procedures that can help reduce and even reverse stroke symptoms. Under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Farkas, the Service uses interventional techniques alone or in combination with surgical or medical therapy to ensure the best possible outcomes for stroke patients.
One such technique involves the use of an advanced tool called the “Merci Retriever.” This miraculous device enables interventional neuroradiologists to remove blood clots from the brain during a stroke. Dr. Farkas navigates the Merci Retriever from a small puncture in the groin up to the brain, snares the blood clot and then removes it. Many patients undergoing this procedure have minimized damage – and some have complete recoveries. The Merci Retriever can be used on patients up to 8 hours after onset of stroke symptoms. Dr. Farkas is among the most experienced in the country in the use of this revolutionary device.
“We’ve had patients unable to speak and experiencing paralysis who had their symptoms reversed on the spot,” said Dr. Farkas of this extraordinary intervention. “Full recoveries are not uncommon.”
Strokes caused by blood clots are known as ischemic strokes. Many strokes, however, are hemorrhagic – caused by bleeding in the brain. The Interventional Neuroradiology Service plays an important role in treating those strokes, as well. Using the same minimally invasive approach, physicians enter the vascular system of the brain and seal-off bleeding vessels. This helps many patients avoid the additional risks of open brain surgery.
The $2.5 million Interventional Neuroradiology Suite offers high-tech diagnosis and a full array of interventions, including procedures such as intracranial stenting that aid in stroke prevention. The suite is equipped with a biplane angiographic system and advanced imaging capabilities designed specifically for navigating the brain. This futuristic technology enables the Maimonides Stroke Center to manage the treatment of patients with the most difficult and complex lesions in the brain.
The Stroke Center has a multi-disciplinary team of stroke experts that includes physicians and nurses from Neurology, Neurosurgery, Emergency Medicine and Vascular Surgery, in addition to Interventional Neuroradiology. Specially trained therapists round out the team of experts, ensuring that each stroke patient has the optimal outcome. These outstanding patient outcomes are the reason Maimonides is consistently rated among the top 5% in the nation for Stroke Services.
One of the best defenses against stroke is learning your risk factors, including the numbers that measure your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose (sugar). The experts at Maimonides urge everyone to be aware of stroke symptoms, including: sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble walking; dizziness or loss of balance or coordination; sudden trouble seeing with one or both eyes.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States. If you suspect someone is experiencing any of the above symptoms for even a brief period, call 911 and go to the nearest stroke center immediately.
For more information on risk factors and treatment of stroke, go to the Maimonides website at www.maimonidesmed.org.