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Stroke New Retrieval Device Shown to Be Major Benefit for Stroke Patients STORY HIGHLIGHTS Removing clots with the Solitaire device, developed at UCLA, has been shown to reduce poststroke disability and increase independence after three months. Because tPA provides only a modest benefit, researchers at UCLA have spent two decades developing alternative treatments to open blocked arteries in stroke patients. While tPA reopens vessels 25-to-30 percent of the time, Solitaire has been shown to open a blocked artery 88 percent of the time. A new device to remove obstructing blood clots represents a breakthrough in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke, according to Jeffrey Saver, MD, director of the UCLA Comprehensive Stroke Center. A multicenter clinical trial, headed by Dr. Saver, found that in patients with acute ischemic stroke — in which a clot blocks the blood supply to part of the brain — removing the clot with the stent retriever device, which was developed at UCLA, significantly reduced poststroke disability and increased the percentage of patients who were independent in their daily function after three months. The device, called Solitaire, represents the first major advance in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke in 20 years — since the development of the clot-busting drug tPA, Dr. Saver says. He notes that approximately five-out-of-six strokes are ischemic; acute ischemic stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide and the leading “This is an ideal use of telemedicine because the exam needed to make decisions on the treatment of these patients is largely visual, the medical decision-making is complex, and there aren’t enough neurologists to go around.” UCLAHEALTH.ORG 1-844-4UCLADR (1-844-482-5237) cause of adult disability. For years, the only proven treatment was tPA, but it provides only a modest benefit — when used up to four-and-a- half hours after the stroke’s onset, it dissolves the targeted clot between one-third and one-half of the time. As a result, Dr. Saver explains, UCLA has spent the past two decades developing an alternative approach — mechanically attacking clots to pull them from occluded vessels. The first such device, the MERCI Coil Retriever, was invented at UCLA and cleared for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004. The MERCI device was shown to reopen arteries 60-to-65 percent of the time, but only fully reopening them one-fourth of the time, with modest impact on patient outcomes. “We needed newer-generation devices that would do a better job of opening arteries,” Dr. Saver says.