Cutting-edge procedure helps severe stroke victims recover faster — and more fully

Cutting-edge procedure helps severe stroke victims recover faster — and more fully

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Carlos Jorge will never forget the September morning he suffered a stroke.

“I tried to get up and I was flailing on the floor,” he said.

The left side of his body went limp.

An angiogram revealed a tear in his carotid artery and a blood clot.

Dr. Sung Bae Lee, a neuro-interventionist at The Queen’s Medical Center, performed a procedure called a mechanical thrombectomy.

"These large vessel occlusions represent the most disabling and most fatal type of strokes," he said.

"The thrombectomy basically was trying to clear out the clot that had formed in my neck, in the carotid artery," Jorge said.

During thrombectomies, small catheters and wires are inserted into a stroke patient’s arteries.

"We will enter the arterial tree of the body, and using X-ray guidance, go all the way to the blood vessel inside the brain where the blockage is and pull that blood clot out," Lee said.

Jorge's procedure took about 15 minutes.

“About 10 minutes after the procedure I had full motion on the left side of my body,” he said.

The medical community calls thrombectomies revolutionary and life-saving for the most severe stroke cases that involve blood clots.

"The goal is to try to unclog that artery to the point where oxygen can get back before more brain is injured or dies," Lee said.

Across the United States, hospitals are performing more thrombectomies after research showed the quicker the procedure is done the better the outcome.

This year, Queen’s did about 100 of the procedures.

For a month after his stroke, Jorge felt some weakness in his body but it went away.

“I think without the thrombectomy I would have had permanent paralysis,” said the 47-year-old, who’s a chef.

Next month, he will open his first restaurant called HICraft Kitchen.

“It’s almost as if I was given a second chance or a second opportunity at life,” he said.

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