MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A new procedure at Baptist Medical Center South saved a patient from the effects of a stroke by removing a blood clot from his brain. The hospital says the treatment is the area’s first for life-saving stroke care.
On April 6, 73-year-old Michael Amos was at his home in Troy with his wife when suddenly, he was unable to speak or move the right side of his body. Michael’s wife, Carol Amos, called 911 and requested an ambulance transport him to Baptist South.
“I was thinking the whole time going to Montgomery that when I got there, there was going to be really no hope for Michael to recover from this,” Carol Amos said.
When Michael arrived to the hospital, an X-ray of his head found a sizeable blood clot in his brain. Doctors determined that Michael had suffered a stroke. But what happened next is truly remarkable.
“After the surgery, before we even got to ICU, we could hear him (Michael) talking in his regular voice,” Carol said. “We could see no affects from the stroke. He was already just like, a miracle.”
Due to the location of Michael’s blood clot, Intervention Neurologist Dr. Vamshi Balasetti, said he was able to perform a relatively new procedure called a thrombectomy. It involves running a catheter through a blood vessel in the patients body directly to the site of the clot and pulling it out. The technique expands the walls of the artery allowing increased blood flow.
“Two billion neurons die every minute without treatment,” Balasetti said. “So the faster that you get to a hospital that is able to provide this kind of treatment, the better for the patient and the better the outcomes.”
The minimally invasive procedure allowed Balasetti to get to Michael’s clot right away. This allowed time for more brain cells to be preserved, resulting in less effects from the stroke.
“It was just a matter of a few hours and he was just back to normal,” Carol Amos said. “It was totally unexpected.”
“I am ready to go, and I thank God for giving me a second life,” Michael Amos said.
The couple said Michael has had Parkinson’s Disease for years, but as far as effects related to the stroke, they are near non-existent. And get this - Michael was released from the hospital just two days after the stroke.
“Everybody that seems to know or been acquainted with strokes says we’re one in a million,” Carol Amos said.
“The lord gave me a chance through this guy right here,” Michael Amos said pointing to Balasetti.
Balasetti said the thrombectomy procedure takes just 10 to 15 minutes and allows for the successful removal of large blood clots.
“In the past, the only treatment for these strokes, or any kind of stroke, was the clot busting medication,” Balasetti said, “But one of the problems with that clot busting medications is that it’s not really effective with strokes that have a large clot. It’s only affective in 30% of the cases where it’s able to breakdown that clot.”
Balasetti added the risk of complications with the thrombectomy procedure is not any higher than it would be if a patient were to receive clot busting medication.
Right now, Baptist Medical Center South is serving as Central Alabama’s sole provider of the life-saving thrombectomy services and is one of only six facility providers in Alabama to offer it.
Balasetti is also the first doctor in Montgomery to provide the treatment.
“What I have seen is that there is no center that provides this kind of care in a two hour radius. The closest would be the University of Alabama,” Balasetti said, “I think there is a large population here that needs this kind of service, and I am glad that Baptist South is now able to provide that.”
The Amos couple wants more people in the community to be aware the treatment is available.
“We want everybody to know about this procedure and know that it’s out there and that there is hope for stroke victims and that instead of me going to a nursing home to visit a paralyzed husband, or going to a funeral home to make funeral arrangements, we’re going to the beach,” Carol Amos said with a smile. “Our life has been given back to us and we are very thankful.”
Baptist South began offering the thrombectomy procedure in December. Since then, doctors have helped save over 20 patients from the effects of a stroke.
You can find more information about Baptist South’s thrombectomy procedure on their website.
Baptist’s website also provides information about stroke symptoms and prevention.