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The NSPA Blog

New Advances in the Treatment of Strokes

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Posted on March 30th, 2018 by Teri Dreher, under Clinical Trends, Inspiring Stories, Something New

The University of Kentucky may not have made it as far as they would’ve liked in March Madness, but they’re making huge strides in other areas that are even more important

Right now, the 3rd leading cause of death in America is medical error. The 5th leading cause is stroke. For those looking for treatment from strokes, these numbers are extremely troubling. And for good reason.

The complex effects of strokes on both patients and their families

In plain terms, strokes occur when blood flow to an area of the brain is blocked or cut off. As a result, whatever area of the brain where the stroke occurred starts to see cell damage and death. This is where people who experience strokes may be left with partial paralysis, memory loss, and other issues. While this poses an obvious danger to the people who experience them, it also manifests in deep troubles for family members. Family members are stressed, frustrated, and in a new position of dealing with grief. They face additional pressures of caregiving, financial pressure, and changes in roles and self-esteem.

One of our advocates recalls a case with a businessman who suffered a massive stroke in his cerebellum. This is the part of the brain that affects basic human functions. He could not talk at all and had to depend on nurses and family members for almost everything during rehabilitation. Thankfully, he was one of the few who to actually survive such a serious stroke and is back at work, though still has balance problems and occasional trouble remembering words or names of people. It depends upon the location and severity of the stroke, how severely it will impact motor and neurological skills. Usually, strokes that affect the right side of the body are also accompanied by speech problems as most people have the speech center (Broca’s area) on the left side of the brain and the impairments cross over, i.e. a stroke affecting the right motor functions will be caused by a left brain clot or bleed.

Hope is on the horizon

Currently, UK is working on a solution that would reverse the effects of stroke in the brain. Doctors already routinely enter the site of clot to reopen the blood vessel. Technology in the US already exists to reverse a blockage. It’s a high risk procedure. Now, UK medicine, led by Dr. Justin Fraser, is working to find a way to inject medicine at the site of the clot while they reopen the vessel.  The strides they’re making here are to actually repair the site of the clot, as opposed to just reversing the blockage. They’re still in the early trial phase, but initial results are encouraging. If they are successful in repairing affected areas of the brain, the results could be huge. Read more about the important work that’s being done here.


With over 36 years of clinical experience in Critical Care nursing, home based health care and expertise as a cardiovascular nurse clinician, Teri is well acquainted with the complexities of the modern healthcare system. She has served as a nursing leader, mentor, educator, and consistent patient advocate throughout her career in some of the best hospitals across the country. Her passion to keep the patient at the center of the model of nursing care led her to incorporate NShore Patient Advocates, LLC in 2011, serving clients throughout the northern suburbs of Chicago.

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