A breakthroughin acute stroketreatment
Basma Kholoussiremembers only bits and piecesfrom the night she suffered a stroke.
It was her husband, Bassem, who
recognized the frightening signs:
Basma’s face drooped, she slurred
words and couldn’t use her right
side. When the ambulance brought
them to Foothills Medical Centre in
Calgary on that night in August 2014,
Bassem gave consent for her to take
part in a clinical trial for a new stroke
treatment. That decision changed
her life. As a result, she has fully
recovered. “It feels like a miracle,”
she says. “I am so grateful.”
With that trial, Alberta researchers
are leading the most exciting advance
in stroke treatment in 20 years,
says Dr. Michael Hill, a researcher
funded by Alberta Innovates – Health
Solutions (AIHS). The Calgary
neurologist led the trial along with
neuroradiologist Dr. Mayank Goyal
and Dr. Andrew Demchuk, director
of the Calgary Stroke Program.
The trial, known as ESCAPE,focused on patients who had sufferedacute ischemic stroke—a suddenblockage of an artery in the brain.
About 1,500 Albertans have this typeof stroke every year. It usually killsthem or causes long-term disability.
In ESCAPE, all 316 patients receivedstandard medical care—clot-bustingdrugs to dissolve the blockages.
Half, including Kholoussi, also had asmall tube, or stent, inserted throughblood vessels in the groin all the wayto the brain to pull out the clot. TheESCAPE trial used a removable stent,a relatively new technology to openbrain arteries. Patients treated withthe stent fared much better than theothers: Fifty per cent fewer died andmore than half recovered completely,compared with only 19 per cent in thecontrol group.
It feels like a
miracle, I am