Living Healthy -- Minimally invasive treatment for stroke victim - WHDH-TV 7News Boston

Living Healthy -- Minimally invasive treatment for stroke victims

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BOSTON (WHDH) - It's the deadliest kind of stroke one in which a blood vessel bursts deep in the brain. But doctors have developed a minimally invasive way of treating this stroke and are saving lives.

Jon Galvan was at work when all of a sudden he felt something pop in his head.

"I took another step and the left side of the body the leg wasn't functioning, and I actually did a header into the drywall, and that was it. That's all I remember. I had a two year old son, light of my life, and I just said, ‘I'm not going to go out. I'm not going to orphan my son.’ And I just kind of willed myself to not go down,” said Galvan.

He was having a hemorrhagic stroke. A blood vessel had burst and was leaking blood right into his brain, most often caused by high blood pressure.

"This is one of the most devastating and fatal kinds of stroke that we face. the degradation/breakdown of the blood cells that accumulate in the brain can release toxic chemicals that cause brain swelling and injury to the surrounding tissues,” said neurosurgeon, Dr. Neil Martin.

In many cases, we need to do open brain surgery to remove the blood, but that can cause even more brain swelling.

Doctors in California have pioneered a minimally invasive way, of reaching the hemorrhage.

“It involves a very precise insertion of a suction catheter that is guided using a GPS-like system to a specific target inside the blood clot. So there's not an incision in the brain, there's just a small tract where the device is inserted,” said Dr. Martin.

Doctors first take cat scans of the brain to map out the point of entry.

The computerized 3D images guide the surgeon right to the blood clot through a robotic probe.

“The procedure is intended to relieve the pressure by removing the blood accumulated in the brain,” said Dr. Martin.

Galvan got the procedure five years ago. He's beaten the odds and continues to fight for more recovery with his son in mind.

"It just wasn't my time. I didn’t wanna go yet,” said Galvan.

According to the National Stroke Association, each year, almost 800,000 Americans will have a stroke and 160,000 will die as a result.

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