Stroke Thrombectomy Vascular Neurology of Southern California
Strokes are the leading cause of death and disability in the US, effecting close to 800,000 people each year.
Strokes occur when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, due to either a blood vessel bursting or a blockage of some sort. When a blood clot causes a blockage, a stroke thrombectomy performed by an expert neurointerventionalist could very well be a life-saving procedure.
Dr. M. Asif Taqi is a quadruple-board certified neurointerventionalist and stroke specialist with many years of extensive experience and expertise in treating stroke patients. In addition to his superior surgical skills, he also possesses the incredible ability to connect with his patients personally and put them at ease. Because of his expertise, he understands the emotional challenges that occur when you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a stroke. He will take the time to explain your procedure and answer any questions you may have. He strives to ensure the utmost comfort of each of his patients! Contact us today to arrange your consultation in Thousand Oaks or West Hills.
What causes a stroke?
A cerebrovascular accident (CVA), also known as a stroke, occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain is interrupted. This interruption happens when a blood vessel bursts (hemorrhagic stroke) or is blocked somehow (ischemic stroke). In either case, the downstream portion of the brain does not receive adequate blood flow. Because the brain requires a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients to function, disruption of the blood supply can quickly and permanently damage the brain.
The most common type of stroke is ischemic. In fact, >87% of all strokes are caused by a blockage that prevents blood flow. In some cases, the blockage forms due to the build-up of fatty plaque on an artery wall, known as atherosclerosis. In other cases, a blood clot from elsewhere in the body travels to and blocks the flow of blood through a vessel in the brain.
Blood clots can form for a number of reasons. People with high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol are at higher risk than others. Ischemic stroke is also more common in people who have relatives who have had a stroke and are over 55 years of age. Furthermore, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol excessively both increase your risk of a stroke.
What is a stroke thrombectomy?
A stroke thrombectomy is a life-saving procedure, performed by a highly skilled neuroendovascular surgeon, to remove the clot that is blocking blood flow to the brain. The sooner the thrombectomy can be performed, the higher the chances are of restoring normal function. Because of this, you must seek medical attention right away if you notice any signs or symptoms of a stroke.
During the procedure
Your surgeon will access the blood vessels of the brain through an endovascular approach. Usually, through a small incision in the groin area, a catheter will be inserted that allows your surgeon to thread a small wire through the blood vessels and up into the brain. By using state-of-the-art imaging, your surgeon will determine where the blood clot is. They will then use a wire mesh to capture and remove the blood clot, restoring normal blood flow.
Recovering from a stroke thrombectomy
The stroke thrombectomy procedure is minimally invasive, as it generally employs an endovascular approach. This means that you will have only a small incision, most often located in the groin. Dr. Taqi will ask that you refrain from lifting anything heavy for several weeks to protect your incision while it heals. He will give you specific care instructions and let you know when it is okay to resume your normal daily activities.
Because you may have some temporary or long-term disabilities as a result of your stroke, recovery often requires physical therapy to help you adjust to changes in your muscle movements or speaking difficulties. Since patients who have already had a stroke are more likely to experience another, additional preventative treatments, such as medications or surgical procedures, will also likely be a part of your recovery. Dr. Taqi can help you understand your treatment plan and what you can do to enhance your recovery.
Stroke Thrombectomy FAQs
In order to have a productive consultation with Dr. Taqi, be sure to bring your medical records. Include any imaging studies that you have had. Though you can request that these be sent to the office, it is helpful for you to bring a DVD copy, just in case. It is also important that you provide a comprehensive list of any medications and over-the-counter drugs that you are currently taking. Dr. Taqi will be happy to answer any question you have, so feel free to prepare a list of these as well!
When you arrive at the hospital, you will likely have a CT scan or some other imaging to determine what type of stroke you are having. You will also have blood tests to help rule out other potential causes of your symptoms. Lastly, you may have an MRI, ultrasound, echocardiogram, or angiogram. The combination of these diagnostic tests will help your doctor determine what type of stroke you are having and why.
Yes, if you have had a stroke or TIA already, you are more likely to have another.
Many patients are surprised to find that most strokes are preventable. In fact, scientists estimate that roughly 90% a stroke’s risk factors are modifiable. These include high blood pressure, obesity, uncontrolled diabetes, and high blood cholesterol. In general, living a healthy lifestyle consisting of a whole foods and high fiber diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and drinking excessive alcohol can substantially reduce the likelihood of having a stroke.