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Gates Vascular says new stroke care is a ‘paradigm shift’

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WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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Buffalo's Gates Vascular Institute is providing some of the most revolutionary stroke treatment in the world.  Gates and UB Neurosurgery announced it is one of the leaders in a landmark, $50-million international clinical trial.

With the use of a retrievable stent with t-PA, what they call a clot busting protein, is now being used with dramatic results for stroke patients for their survival and recovery. Dr. Elad Levy, medical director of neuroendovascular services at Gates.  said doctors now use retrievable stents that capture a clot.

"It's a new paradigm shift. It is establishing a new standard of care. Patients with stroke have to get catered-based retrievable stents, plus t-PA if you want to maximize the chance for a good outcome," said Dr. Levy during a morning news conference at Gates.

For some patients, it is dramatically changing stroke outcomes and recovery. 

"On the clinical side, it's the most dramatic thing that I've ever seen in medicine -- a patient who is paralyzed, unable to talk one minute, and when that clot comes he is functional again. He's starting to move, he's starting to talk," said Dr. Nick Hopkins, with Gates.

"On the clinical side, it's the most dramatic thing that I've ever seen in medicine -- a patient who is paralyzed, unable to talk one minute, and when that clot comes he is functional again. He's starting to move, he's starting to talk," said Dr. Nick Hopkins, with Gates. 

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Dr. Nick Hopkins, lead founders of Gates Vascular in Buffalo discusses break-through stroke treatment.

This treatment is working to change stroke treatment world-wide.

"We were the first center to say stroke is not based on a stop-watch.  We are going to look at the physiology of the brain. We are one of the only centers in the world that may offer treatment to someone that woke up with a stroke, meaning we have no idea what time it started," said Dr. Ken Synder.

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Researchers show what the stroke looks like in their clinical trials.

But Dr. Levy noted that when they first began presenting their research based on a small study to others across the nation, there was a great deal of criticism. 

"Our mantra is, 'we are smarter than a stopwatch,'" said Dr. Levy. "People actually got out of their seats and were screaming who absurd that was. And when I told Dr. Hopkins who upset the academic community was and how upset I was, his point was 'if they're not upset you're probably not on to anything. They more upset they are -- they more likely is you are on the right track' and that couldn't have been more true."

Gates has become the number two center in the United States to use the retrievable stents. 

"People actually got out of their seats and were screaming who absurd that was," said Dr. Elad Levy.

"What you can offer the patient, things here that are experimental, they appear to be off-the-wall, but they're well thought out," said Dr. Robert Sawyer.  "We can offer patients here, more than anywhere else, certainly in New York, and probably in the world.  By participating gin these trials they get cutting edge treatment here."  

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Images of stents used for stroke treatment.

The researchers said these trials now show most people, if they can get the same treatment, like at GVI, most people will do well.   Some patients who arrived with a nearly fatal or disabling stroke, have gone home the next morning.    

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