Doctors in Kingston say we’re entering a new era of stroke care as a new surgical procedure is lowering mortality rates and improving outcomes for stroke survivors.
Al Cinnamon is one of the first in the region to receive the potentially life-saving surgery.
Al and his wife Maureen were renewing their passports last January when he felt something change.
“Maureen says you’re talking kind of funny she turned around and my face had dropped.”
When someone’s having a stroke minutes, and even seconds, can make a critical difference in the person’s outcome.
Maureen says she was able to identify Al’s symptom’s because of a simple fridge magnet that lists the early signs of a stroke.
“His face is drooping, his speech, his arm started to go and I got to get him somewhere,” says Maureen thinking back on that January day. “We gotta call 911.”
He was rushed to Kingston General hospital where he benefited from a new surgical procedure called Endovascular Thrombectomy.
Dr. Albert Jin is a neurologist in the hospital’s stroke unit.
“This is revolutionary it’s probably the biggest advance in stroke treatment in 20 years.”
A catheter is run through the aorta in the thigh to the brain and a stint is used to physically remove the blockage causing the stroke from the brain.
The surgery is used on large blockages where drugs take too long to break them down. The difference in time has a tremendous impact on patient outcomes says Jin.
“This stint retriever has been shown to reduce mortality in stroke and it’s also been shown to increase the number of people who can literally walk out of hospital back into more or less their normal life.”
A fact Al Cinnamon is very keenly aware of. “I see how well I’m doing and see some other people…the way they come out of it.”
The stroke unit has spent a year building the capacity and expertise for the surgery.
It has been available on a 24 hour basis since the end of September.
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