New treatment gives hope to stroke patients


A new and advanced technology is now available to stroke patients or those at risk for stroke. As the fourth leading cause of death in Canada, stroke affects thousands of people across the country. The Stroke Team at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital at the McGill University Health Centre and McGill University was the first in Quebec, and the second in Canada, to implant a specialized intracranial stent, offering new and innovative treatment and care for stroke and stroke prevention.

"Providing state-of-the-art treatment to our patients is at the core of the MNI/H's mission as a highly specialized neuroscience research and medical centre," says Dr. David Colman, Director of the MNI/H.

Each year, there are approximately 50,000 strokes in Canada resulting in 16,000 deaths. A stroke survivor has a 20% chance of having another stroke within two years. Strokes are caused by an interruption of blood flow to the brain either as a result of a blood clot or ruptured blood vessels, and can cause serious and sometimes irreversible brain damage, resulting in disability and sometimes death.

"Our Stroke Team is excited to offer this new technology to our patients," says Dr. Donatella Tampieri, Director of Neuroradiology at the MNI/H, who performed this highly skilled procedure. "This is the first stent designed specifically for patients with intracranial arterial stenosis; that is a narrowing or hardening of the arteries in the brain, a major contributing factor in stroke," says Dr. Tampieri. "Prior to the development of this specialized stent, only medical treatments were available."

The intracranial stent is a small, thin wire mesh that can be inserted into the arteries, ensuring arterial support and opening up clogged arteries in the brain. At present, the procedure is offered only to patients who have repeated strokes in spite of optimal medical treatment. One year following the successful stent implantation, the first patient in Quebec is doing well and has recovered abilities that were impaired following his strokes.

"The stent effectively increases the internal diameter of arteries in the brain and is a significantly improved treatment option for stroke," says Dr. Tampieri.

The Stroke Team at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (MNI/H) is an innovative multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, speech language pathologists and nutritionists/clinical dieticians. This dedicated team of professionals offers the most advanced stroke care and conducts cutting-edge clinical research into acute stroke treatment and stroke prevention. They are the first in Quebec to develop a "code stroke" which mobilizes the stroke team for both incoming and hospitalized patients. The team ensures that patients and their families receive a comprehensive continuum of care from stroke risk assessment to acute stroke care and rehabilitation.

The Montreal Neurological Institute is a McGill University research and teaching institute, dedicated to the study of the nervous system and neurological diseases. Founded in 1934 by the renowned Dr. Wilder Penfield, the MNI is one of the world's largest institutes of its kind. MNI researchers are world leaders in cellular and molecular neuroscience, brain imaging, cognitive neuroscience and the study and treatment of stroke, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and neuromuscular disorders. The MNI, with its clinical partner, the Montreal Neurological Hospital (MNH), part of the McGill University Health Centre, continues to integrate research, patient care and training, and is recognized as one of the premier neuroscience centres in the world.


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