The Merci Retrieval System for Strokes: A New Treatment for Blood Clots

Deanne Stein Health Guide
  • The fact I survived my massive stroke in 2001 is remarkable to me. In fact, until recently I never talked about the specifics about it with my doctor. Two weeks ago I did. I had always assumed my blood clot was just blocking the blood flow to my brain, which it was.

    What I didn’t know was that the blood clot was directly on my brain. For some reason, that gave me an immediate chill down my spine. It makes me so thankful that the treatment I received even existed.

    My clot was dissolved by a radiologist, who administered TPA on me. TPA is a clot-busting drug that is sprayed directly on the blood clot. It has to be used on a patient within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms.
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    A short time frame, but life-saving as long as someone gets to the emergency room in time. If that isn’t remarkable enough, even better technology is being constantly tested and approved.

    In fact, since my stroke, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the Merci Retrieval System. The system is amazing, because it’s like a corkscrew that captures blood clots from vessels deep inside the brain.

    Doctors say it can almost instantly reverse damage caused by ischemic stroke. In fact, during trials, doctor said they had patients completely paralyzed on one side of their body, who were made normal almost instantaneously when the clot was retrieved.

    The Merci Retrieval System is inserted into an artery in the groin, and then guided via standard angiography into the brain until it reaches the blood clots. Once the device "captures" the blood clot, the device and clot are withdrawn into a larger catheter with a balloon.

    During the evacuation process, the balloon is briefly inflated to momentarily stop blood flow so the clot can be safely removed. What’s even better is with this system, the blood clot can be removed up to eight hours after a stroke.

    I was lucky and got to the emergency room within three hours, but now people have more time and a better chance of survival without disability.

    Learn about the MERCI Retrieval System here:
Published On: January 04, 2007