While vacationing at Utah’s Zion National Park, Chuck Dobry experienced a potentially fatal stroke. His wife, Diane, recognized Chuck’s slurred speech and slumped smile and alerted emergency medical responders.
With stroke, every second counts to save brain cells and function. Caregivers at Dixie Regional Medical Center activated their stroke response team, and after arriving at the hospital, Chuck was quickly evaluated in the ER, assessed by a neurologist stroke specialist at Intermountain Medical Center via TeleHealth technology, and received clot-busting drug therapy.
In Chuck’s case, medication would not be enough to fully break up the large clot blocking blood flow to his brain. Neurointerventionalist Benjamin Fox, MD, and a team of caregivers removed the clot using a minimally invasive surgical technique. “We advanced a specialized stent (a small mesh wire) retriever via a catheter (tube) extending from the femoral artery in Chuck’s right groin up through his carotid artery up into the brain to the artery where his clot was located,” says Dr. Fox. “We then expanded the stent, which grasps and adheres to the clot, and retrieved the clot out of Chuck’s head through a larger catheter.”
After treatment and recovery, Chuck and Diane were able to finish their vacation at Zion National Park. Back home in Michigan, Chuck resumed his active lifestyle and went on a kayaking adventure. “I was fortunate that I was in Utah when my stroke happened,” says Chuck. “To go through a stroke and have the caregivers at Intermountain be able to do what they did, and then have me back up on my feet and out the door a couple of days later, is mind boggling.”
Diane agrees. “That the brain can be saved, that Intermountain can give that to the people of Utah, it’s amazing.”
The estimated number of neurons lost each minute following a stroke until the clot is removed and blood flow to the brain is restored.