Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas in Austin

february 2023

Ascension Texas participates in groundbreaking study published in The New England Journal of Medicine that advances treatment of acute ischemic stroke

Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas in Austin, part of Ascension in Austin, Texas, was among 31 locations that participated in a groundbreaking global study published this week in The New England Journal of Medicine. The study, led by Dr. Amrou Sarraj and sponsored by University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in collaboration with Stryker Neurovascular and The University of Texas Health Science Center – Houston, examined patient selection criteria for thrombectomy procedures following acute ischemic stroke. Steven Warach, MD, Ph.D. was the principal investigator for the study at Dell Seton Medical Center.

An ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke, occurring when a blood clot blocks or narrows an artery leading to the brain. Thrombectomy is a procedure in which highly specialized physicians use devices to remove the blood clot from the obstructed artery and restore blood flow to the brain.

The study followed 352 patients across six countries with the most severe type of strokes. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either mechanical thrombectomy or usual stroke care, and investigators found that those receiving thrombectomy had significantly better clinical outcomes, including functional independence, after three months. Rates of death did not differ between the groups, though in some cases thrombectomy was associated with vascular complications.

Each year, more than 795,000 people suffer strokes in the U.S. This study is expected to open the door for revascularization treatments for patients with severe strokes who may already have signs of brain swelling. Previously, the effectiveness of the procedure was not clear in such cases, which may have kept patients with larger strokes from receiving thrombectomy therapy.

Ascension was the largest and only multistate health system to take part in the study, with participating sites in Indiana and Wisconsin, alongside Texas.

Dr. Warach and the principal investigators at Ascension Wisconsin and Ascension Indiana believe this study will significantly impact stroke intervention around the world and advance procedures across Ascension hospitals and its more than 2,600 sites of care in 19 states. The results of the study demonstrate that even patients with the most severe type of stroke may still experience positive health outcomes from revascularization procedures like thrombectomy.

Ascension remains committed to growing its national research capabilities while leveraging its presence in Texas to advance care for all.

“At Ascension, we are committed to advancing quality care through research and innovation. Clinical trials are a fundamental way to achieve this and help drive insights to advance care excellence and improve patient outcomes,” said Richard Fogel, MD, FACC, FHRS, Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, Ascension. “Strokes are, unfortunately, a common occurrence, and the findings of this study have the potential to transform stroke care and positively impact many lives.”

The findings of this study were presented by Dr. Sarraj at the 2023 International Stroke Conference in Dallas on Feb. 10, 2023.

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