DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - Strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of disability. 60 percent of the victims are women.
That's why a breakthrough in treatment is always big news. It's a new way to save the brain of patients who might not survive without this new procedure.
Each minute on a clock ticks 60 seconds at a time. When you suffer a stroke, every second means the difference between life, debilitation or death.
Athena Bocage is one of the lucky ones. She lived to tell her story of stroke survival. Since her hospitalization, she's volunteered with the American Heart Association.
When doctors first diagnosed Bocage, immediate medical attention with "clot busting" drugs helped save her life, but you have to get to the hospital within the first 3 or 4 hours of symptoms for the drugs to be most effective.
Dr. John Terry and this team of neuro-interventionalists at Miami Valley Hospital are now on the cutting edge of rapid stroke treatment.
Terry, Dr. Bryan Ludwig and Dr. William Protzer are the first in the region to use a new procedure that can quickly break up clots in patients who don't get to the E.R. within the first 3 or 4 hours of having symptoms.
"Unfortunately, many people can't get to the hospital fast enough.. to meet those time criteria and to extend to 6 or 8 hours, which is what we are able to do with these new devices, give us a whole new look at being able to aggressively treat stroke patients," said Dr. Bryan Ludwig, Miami Valley Hospital.
The device is called Solitaire FR. Here's a simple explanation of how it works.
Doctors insert a balloon guide catheter in an artery in the patients groin then guide the wire through the body and into the clot.
Once it's in position, they remove the guide wire, inflate the micro-catheter, and guide the Solitaire FR into the clot.
The device deploys a stent, a piece of mesh, which allows doctors to grab the clot.
Dr. Terry describes the minimally invasive procedure which takes an about an hour, this way, "The major advantage of the new device is called stent like a chinese finger puzzle slide when collapsed then in deploy pulling catheter and then pull cath out and opening can restore flow right away," said Dr. John Terry, Miami Valley Hospital.
The proof is in the "before" and "after" scans of a stroke patients head.
In one image, you can see that no blood if flowing to the major arteries. His brain is literally starving to death.
The view moments after the Solitaire treatment, blood is flowing and feeding the brain.
Athena's stroke happened before the development of the Solitaire FR.
Clot busting drugs, the first line of defense, saved her life, but even stents won't be enough if you don't take immediate action when you have the first symptoms of a stroke.
Those doctors say they've treated five patients since March 31st and that all five are doing well.
Besides the effectiveness of the procedure, the team also says Solitaire is fast to set up and easy to use, important qualities when you are racing the clock to save lives.
Making off with some last minute bargains, shoppers flooded the Dayton Mall Saturday before round two of the storm hits the Miami Valley.
State representatives Mike Henne and Jim Butler spent Saturday morning going door-to-door in a riverside neighborhood.
Christmas comes early for some kids in the region.
Two women were arrested early Saturday morning after leading Dayton and Riverside Police on a slow speed pursuit with a stolen snow plow.
Preble County crews are battling a barn fire this afternoon on Barnetts Mill Road in Camden.