Solitaire is the newest generation of clot-removing tools, according to Alan Boulos, M.D., endovascular neurosurgeon and chief of the division of neurosurgery at Albany Med. The small, stent-like tube is threaded to the brain using a catheter where it’s opened and able to “grab” a clot that is inhibiting blood flow (an ischemic stroke).
“Solitaire has dramatically improved our ability to open vessels in the brain and restore blood flow and to do so safely and quickly,” Dr. Boulos says.
Clinical studies have shown that patients treated with Solitaire had higher rates of brain function and reduced death from stroke three months after the procedure, compared to patients treated with earlier clot-retrieval devices.
Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot. According to the American Heart Association, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. and is a leading cause of long-term disability.
Dr. Boulos stresses that early treatment for stroke symptoms is critical. Symptoms include:
• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
• Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
• Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
At the first sign of any of these symptoms, one should 911 immediately.
As the Capital Region’s leader in stroke care, Albany Medical Center is the only hospital in the region, and one of only 13 statewide, to be certified by both the New York State Department of Health as a Stroke Center and by the Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center with the organization’s Gold Seal of Approval.
Albany Medical Center’s preeminence in stroke care and multidisciplinary team of neurologists, neuro-radiologists, neurosurgeons, vascular surgeons, nurse practitioners, rehabilitation specialists, and neurology and neurosurgery residents makes the hospital a resource for other hospitals in a 25-county area that transfer patients to Albany Med for treatment.
Albany Medical Center, northeastern New York’s only academic health sciences center, is one of the largest private employers in the Capital Region. It incorporates the 651-bed Albany Medical Center Hospital, which offers the widest range of medical and surgical services in the region, and the Albany Medical College, which trains the next generation of doctors, scientists and other healthcare professionals, and also includes a biomedical research enterprise and the region’s largest physicians practice with 350 doctors. Albany Medical Center works with dozens of community partners to improve the region’s health and quality of life. For more information: www.amc.edu or www.facebook.com/albanymedicalcenter.