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Stroke treatment window opens wider at NCH, brings new hope to patients

March 26, 2018

Dr. Ali Shaibani

New guidelines from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association suggest stroke patients may now benefit from treatment up to 24 hours after the onset of symptoms, greatly extending the time from the previous six-hour window. Northwest Community Hospital (NCH) is one of only a few hospitals in Illinois to implement the new protocol based on these guidelines, allowing for life-saving clot removal by an endovascular procedure or mechanical thrombectomy to minimize and prevent brain damage from stroke.
When it comes to stroke, it is critical to recognize the signs of a stroke and call 9-1-1 immediately for the best possible chance of a full recovery. 

According to Ali Shaibani, M.D., a Neurointerventionalist and Medical Director of the Stroke Program at NCH, “only about 15 percent of stroke patients receive treatment, because they don’t arrive at the hospital in time.” 

Up until now, the time frame to successfully treat an ischemic stroke (caused by a clot blocking a vessel supplying blood to the brain) was within three to four-and-a half hours for a clot-busting drug or six hours for physical removal of the clot with an endovascular procedure or a mechanical thrombectomy. 

Now, when a patient is admitted to the NCH Emergency Department with signs of stroke, our neuroradiologists use CT perfusion or MRI scans to look for blood flow in the brain. Our neurointerventionalists then use new, automated brain imaging software, called RAPID, to understand and identify the brain tissue that has been damaged and determine if tissue can potentially be saved with treatment. 

“It gives us hope to be able to treat more patients with stroke symptoms than ever before,” says Dr. Shaibani. “However, we must caution that time is still of the utmost importance, and that these patients must still come in as early as possible.”

NCH is one of approximately 100 hospitals in the country to be certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission. Certification indicates that an institution provides highly specialized stroke care, including advanced imaging capabilities and round-the-clock patient access to specialized stroke treatments.

Additionally, NCH is the only hospital in Illinois to receive the America’s 100 Best Hospitals Award for Stroke Care™ and all three Healthgrades® Neurosciences Excellence Awards in 2018.

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