Learn about the new catheter that uses an MRI to deliver faster results for stroke diagnosis and treatment
A new advancement from the University of California San Francisco may change the face of ischemic stroke treatment, giving doctors quicker access to vital information. At the center of this innovation is a scan procedure we are very familiar with: MRIs. The technology uses a tool called a MARC (Magnetically Assisted Remote Controlled) catheter and an MRI scan for guidance.
What is an ischemic stroke?
Before we discuss the new and promising technology, we need to understand ischemic strokes. Essentially, an ischemic stroke occurs when a blood artery flowing into the brain becomes blocked by a blood clot. Blood, which carries essential oxygen and nutrients, can’t reach the brain, causing serious damage to an individual and resulting in numerous potential physical and mental problems. Ischemic strokes account for roughly 88% of all strokes, and can be caused by or connected to many factors, including high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, or heart disease.
How blood clots are currently found
The way blood clots are currently detected is through the use of a guided catheter during an arteriogram, which is an x-ray procedure that often includes a dye being injected into the artery to make it more visible. The catheter is then navigated through the blood vessels to find and dissolve the blood clot. However, this procedure has two significant drawbacks. It can expose the patient to a large amount of radiation and does not offer immediate information on the health of the artery and other tissue.
MRI-guided catheters: the new innovation in stroke treatment
Thanks to the new MRI-guided catheter, finding and dissolving clots will be much faster compared to using x-rays. One of the most vital pieces of information that a doctor needs is whether or not the brain tissue near the clot is alive or dead. Having this information helps professionals make more informed decisions and can lead to better outcomes.
If dead tissue is opened up, hemorrhaging can occur and potentially cause a life-threatening situation. Therefore, fast access to this information is one of the most important elements in stroke treatment.
According to a study conducted by UCSF and published in Radiology, the MARC catheter was more successful in navigating under real-time conditions, and completed 80% of the turns properly, while x-ray guidance only achieved 60%. The MARC catheter was also much faster, achieving an average procedure time of 37 seconds, while the traditional method achieved 55 seconds per procedure.
MRI-guided catheters are still in the research stage, but the technology is promising. With completed studies showing their superiority over current methods, there is reason to be excited for this innovative medical advancement!
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