COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) – May is National Stroke Awareness month. Every year, 800,000 Americans have a stroke, which blocks blood vessels to the brain and could cause irreversible brain damage. Only about 25 percent of patients reach the emergency room with enough time for clot-busting medications and procedures to work. Now, doctors have a new tool that they can use at a patient’s bedside that is saving valuable time. Portable MRI
When someone has a stroke, time is brain.
“Neurons and nerve cells are being lost almost immediately,” neurosurgeon at the Ohio State University Medical Center, Dr. Shahid Nimjee, emphasizes.
Doctors have just four and a half hours from the beginning of the stroke to give drugs that open the clogged vessels. Most stroke victims don’t receive treatment in time to prevent brain damage. Now, doctors at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center are among the first in the country to use an MRI machine on wheels called the Hyperfine Swoop. Doctors can wheel the device to a patient.
Dr. Nimjee explains, “The patient goes from the bed and slides up into the machine and the head goes into the frame. Once the patient’s in that frame, the scan can immediately start.”
The portable MRI has a lower magnetic field strength than a standard MRI, which shortens the screening time from 40 minutes to just 20 minutes. A doctor gets real-time images on an iPad, allowing them to quickly determine whether a patient could benefit from clot-busting treatment, even outside of the traditional window.
“The ability to have real-time access to imaging and make a decision in a time critical fashion, I think is imperative as we move forward to treating more stroke patients,” Dr. Nimjee mentions.
Because the Hyperfine portable MRI uses a lower magnetic field strength, doctors don’t have to be as concerned about implants, which shortens the screening protocols and eliminates the need for comprehensive metal detections.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: STROKE: PORTABLE MRI SAVES TIME AND BRAIN
REPORT: MB #5062
BACKGROUND: An ischemic stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells begin to die in minutes. A stroke is a medical emergency, and prompt treatment is crucial. Early action can reduce brain damage and other complications. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. Every three and a half minutes, someone dies of stroke. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and diabetes are leading causes of stroke. One in three U.S. adults has at least one of these conditions or habits.
DIAGNOSING: The sooner a person having a stroke gets care, the better their outcome is likely to be. For this reason, it’s helpful to know the signs of a it so you can act quickly. Stroke symptoms can include numbness or weakness in the arm, face, and leg, especially on one side of the body, trouble speaking or understanding others, confusion, disorientation, or lack of responsiveness, loss of balance or coordination, and seizures. Doctors use several tools to help diagnose stroke quickly and accurately. The first step is a neurological examination, an observational evaluation of the nervous system. When a person suspected of having a stroke arrives at a hospital, a healthcare professional, usually a doctor or nurse, will carry out a detailed assessment of the person’s signs and symptoms. They also will ask when the symptoms began. Because of the importance of early treatment, assessment can begin in the ambulance. Lifestyle changes can’t prevent all strokes. But many of these changes can make a radical difference when it comes to lowering your risk of stroke. These changes include the following: quit smoking, limit alcohol use, keep a moderate weight, and get regular checkups.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the MicroTransponder Vivistim Paired VNS System (Vivistim System), a first-of-its-kind, drug-free rehabilitation system intended to treat moderate to severe upper extremity motor deficits associated with chronic ischemic stroke—a stroke caused by a blockage of blood flow to the brain with long-lasting symptoms—using vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). The Vivistim System is intended to be used, along with post-stroke rehabilitation therapy, in patients who have had ischemic stroke, to electrically stimulate the vagus nerve—a nerve that runs from the brain down to the abdomen—to reduce deficiencies in upper limb and extremity motor function and to improve patients’ ability to move their arms and hands. To use the Vivistim System, an implantable pulse generator (IPG)—which generates a mild electrical pulse—is implanted just under the skin in the chest of the patient. Attached to the IPG is a lead wire that is implanted under the skin and leads up to electrodes that are placed on the left side of the neck where the vagus nerve is.
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