Clinical Trials Find Stents Improve Survival Rate for Stroke Patients

This Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 photo shows stroke survivor Don Sadoway, foreground, and Lee Schwamm, vice chairman of the Massachusetts General Hospital's neurology department, in Boston. When medicine failed to dissolve a clot in Sadoway's brain, his wife agreed to let doctors try a new type of stent, and it worked. (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi)
This Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 photo shows stroke survivor Don Sadoway, foreground, and Lee Schwamm, vice chairman of the Massachusetts General Hospital's neurology department, in Boston. When medicine failed to dissolve a clot in Sadoway's brain, his wife agreed to let doctors try a new type of stent, and it worked. (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi)
This Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 photo shows stroke survivor Don Sadoway, foreground, and Lee Schwamm, vice chairman of the Massachusetts General Hospital’s neurology department, in Boston. When medicine failed to dissolve a clot in Sadoway’s brain, his wife agreed to let doctors try a new type of stent, and it worked. (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi)

(The Star-Tribune) – Surgeons who operate on blood vessels in the brain are hailing new data that suggest many more patients would survive strokes if they were treated with removable stents in addition to drugs.

Medtronic Inc. is cheering the news, since it now owns the Solitaire, a brain blood clot-removal device that commands a large market share for thrombectomy gadgets. The device came with Covidien, acquired by Medtronic last month, and is part of a Covidien neurovascular division expected to generate $451 million in sales this year.

Doctors, however, said the findings of lower mortality and better recovery are applicable to several companies’ devices, not just Covidien’s. That’s partly why they say the findings — first reported in December and confirmed in three publications in the New England Journal of Medicine this week — will ultimately lead to changes in national treatment guidelines for some types of stroke.

“Within the stroke community, this was one of the bigger events that has occurred in the last 20 years,” said Dr. Andrew Grande, a University of Minnesota neurosurgeon and an investigator on one of three studies published this week at the International Stroke Conference in Nashville.

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