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New stroke procedure helps woman recover from stroke quickly

SAN ANTONIO -- A woman who suffered a major stroke is able to walk and talk again 48 hours later after getting a new procedure done.

SAN ANTONIO -- A woman who suffered a major stroke is able to walk and talk again 48 hours later after getting a new procedure done.

Bobbie Thompson said she was at her mother-in-law's home when she got up to use the bathroom and suddenly fell.

"It was instant. I really didn't think anything was wrong. My grandson was over there and he said, ‘you're having a stroke. Your face is drooping,’" Thompson recalled.

Thompson was rushed to a hospital where Dr. Jeremiah Johnson of UT Medicine San Antonio discovered a blood clot in her neck. Dr. Johnson performed a procedure on Thompson using a new device to remove the clot and restore blood flow.

"The procedure itself is called mechanical thrombectomy. The technology that was used to remove the clot is called a stent retriever. It might be a stent that you put in the heart or the brain except it's connected to a wire," Dr. Johnson said.

As Dr. Johnson described, the wire goes through a patient's leg and, with x-ray, guides the device up to the location of the clot. He explained that the stent is then deployed and opens the clot. The stent is then pulled back with a wire to remove the clot.

"If it's in one of the largest blood vessels, the carotid artery in the neck, the brain or the biggest blood vessel in the brain, the middle cerebral artery, you're a candidate to have this procedure done," Dr. Johnson noted.

He added that the best chance for a recovery is if the procedure is done within hours after symptoms begin to develop. Dr. Johnson and his partners, Dr. Ramesh Grandhi and Dr. Lee Birnbaum are specially trained to perform the procedure. It's only offered at University Hospital and Baptist Health System in San Antonio.

Johnson recorded video of Thompson 48 hours later after the procedure. She is shown talking and moving her entire body as if she never suffered a stroke. Thompson said she felt so great afterwards, she wanted to go back to work the following day but Dr. Johnson recommended she rest for at least a week.

"I get emotional when I talk about it,” Thompson said. “I think of where I would be if I hadn't been brought here to have this surgery. I would probably be in a nursing home and not be able to feed myself. And now I'm able to do everything I was able to do before.”

Dr. Johnson said that Thompson will have to stop smoking and adopt a healthier lifestyle to reduce the chances of another stroke.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States. The CDC says that nearly 130,000 Americans die every year.

Here's an easy way to recognize symptoms of a stroke. Just remember F.A.S.T.

F: Face drooping
A: Arm weakness
S: Speech difficulty
T: Time to call 911

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