Breakthrough surgery saving lives in East Tennessee

Local News

Most of us know by now every minute counts moments after a stroke, but there are options when it comes to the type of treatment you need following a stroke.

One of those treatment options isn’t available in every city across the country, but it is available in East Tennessee. It’s called surgical thrombectomy and doctors say it’s saving stroke victims’ quality of life. 

Just minutes after undergoing a life-changing brain surgery at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, Susie Daughtery is on the road to recovery. 

“How are you feeling?! Who’s this gentleman over here,” asked Dr. Keith Woodward, a neurointerventional radiologist at Fort Sanders. 

She replied, “My husband.”

It was a simple question she couldn’t answer about an hour earlier. 

“She fell this morning and when we got to her to get her up she said, ‘I think I’ve had a stroke,'” said Kathy Braden, her daughter. 

Daughtery was prepped for a surgical thrombectomy to remove the blockage. 

Learn more about surgical thrombectomy

Woodward says the procure can make a huge difference in large clots. 

“I got right here up against the clot and then we turn on suction and the suction grabs the clot and then we just pull the catheter out. So we just pulled the cath out of her arm,” said Woodward.

It took Woodward just nine minutes to treat her stroke. 

“Within two minutes, she was able to tell me her name, her vision came back within a couple of minutes,” said Woodward. “She was able to move her left arm and left leg again.”

It’s a huge advancement from when he first started stroke care. 

“It’s mind-boggling. I was involved in many trials,” said Woodward. “Looking at stroke and from 2006 up until about 2010, we were trying different devices to try and open up these arteries without a lot of success. I would spend hours, six or seven hours, trying to open up a blood vessel and now I can do that in five or six minutes.”

After about 30 minutes in a waiting room, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house seeing the matriarch of the Daughtery family back to normal. 

“I don’t know if I can explain that. That was just a miracle. God is so good. I don’t know if I can explain it. I had prepared for the worst,” said Braden. 

In January, the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association announced a new guideline for treating acute ischemic stroke recommends an increased treatment window for thrombectomies from six hours to up to 24 hours in certain patients with clots in large vessels.

New recommendations also mean more patients will have access to a clot-dissolving drug proven to lower chances for disability.

To learn more, click here.

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