Near or Far: Thrombectomies Prevent Stroke Deaths, Disabilities
July 22, 2019
When Mike Niemants arrived at the CHI Health Neurological Institute, he couldn’t talk, see or move his left side due to a clot blocking a large artery in his brain.
Worse, he’d been unconscious too long for Interventional Neurologist Vishal Jani, MBBS, to use the lifesaving tPA on him.
Fortunately, Dr. Jani had another lifesaving tool. He threaded a stent retriever though Mike’s blood vessels and used the device to trap and break apart the clot.
When he woke up in the hospital hours later, Mike was able to talk, see and move his left side.
Mike did need some occupational therapy right after his stroke, but knew he was lucky. Looking at people around him in therapy, he could see the contrast in outcomes. “It could have been a lot different,” he said.
Thrombectomy has been such a game changer in stroke care, the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association rewrote their treatment guidelines. A number of states – including Nebraska – created statewide systems to designate where emergency responders should take stroke patients; if a hospital can’t perform a needed thrombectomy, that patient is transferred to a hospital with the capabilities.
One of the few is CHI Health Immanuel.
CHI Health also rewrote protocols to get stroke patients help faster. All CHI Health emergency departments take CT scans immediately and transport patients to Immanuel if a large clot is detected. This protocol to identify and transport patients in need extends far beyond the Omaha metro area.
Take the case of Bob Harrie. His stroke happened last year, after dinner at a son’s house. The 70-year-old had fallen and was unable to get up. A rescue squad rushed Bob to CHI Health St. Francis in Grand Island, where he underwent a CT scan and received clot-busting tPA.
A teleneurologist in Omaha reviewed Bob’s CT scan and detected a large clot which would likely cause severe paralysis, and spoke to the family via computer monitor.
“He said you can’t stay in Grand Island. You need to go to the Neurological Institute at Immanuel,” said Carol Harrie, Bob’s wife. Lifeflight transported Bob to Immanuel by 11 pm, where Dr. Jani performed the mechanical thrombectomy.
Today, Bob is back to hunting and fishing and called the entire team amazing. “They will take care of you,” he said. Carol agreed. “They enabled us to get the excellent care we received at Immanuel.”