Washington: An experimental stent-like device removed blood clots in stroke patients more effectively than standard mechanical treatment, a study reveals.
Named SOLITAIRE, it has a self-expanding, stent-like design and, once inserted into a clot using a thin catheter tube, it compresses and traps the clot. The clot is then removed by withdrawing the device, thus reopening the blocked blood vessel.
"This new device heralds a new era in acute stroke care," said lead study author Jeffrey L. Saver, professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles.
"We are going from our first generation of clot-removing procedures, which were only moderately good in reopening target arteries, to now having a highly effective tool. This really is a game-changing result," added Saver, according to a university statement.
The standard Food and Drug Administration-approved mechanical device -- a corkscrew-type clot remover -- is called the MERCI Retriever. About 87 percent of all strokes are caused by clots blocking a blood vessel supplying the brain.
In the first US clinical trial, SOLITAIRE opened blocked vessels without causing symptomatic bleeding in or around the brain in 61 percent of patients.
Its use also led to better survival three months after a stroke. There was a 17.2 percent mortality rate with the new device, compared to the older 38.2 percent.
These findings were presented Feb 3 by Saver at the American Stroke Association`s 2012 international conference in New Orleans.