Jon Galvan was at work when he felt something pop in his head.
"I took another step and the left side of the body the leg wasn't functioning, and I actually did a header into the drywall, and that was it. That's all I remember,” said Galvan. “I had a two-year-old son, light of my life, and I just said, I'm not going to go out. I'm not going to orphan my son and I just kind of willed myself to not go down."
But the situation was serious.
He was having a hemorrhagic stroke, a blood vessel burst and was leaking blood into his brain. The cause was high blood pressure.
"This is one of the most devastating and fatal kinds of stroke that we face,” said Dr. Neil Martin, neurosurgeon. “The degradation/breakdown of the blood cells that accumulate in the brain can release toxic chemicals that cause brain swelling and injury to the surrounding tissues."
In many cases, open brain surgery is required to remove the blood. But that's risky and could cause even more brain swelling.
Dr. Neil Martin at UCLA is pioneering a minimally invasive way of reaching the hemorrhage.
"It involves a very precise insertion of a suction catheter that is guided using a GPS like system to a specific target inside the blood clot,” said Dr. Martin. “So there's not an incision in the brain. There's just a small tract where the device is inserted."
To do such a precise operation without opening the brain, doctors first take CT scans of the brain to map out the point of entry. The computerized 3D images are loaded into a computer and guide the surgeons to the blood clot through a robotic probe.
"The procedure is intended to relieve the pressure by removing the blood accumulating," said Dr. Martin.
Galvan got the procedure five years ago and he has beaten the odds and regained function back to much of his body. He continues to fight for recovery, with his son in mind.
"Sorry, it just wasn't my time. I was not ready to go yet," said Galvan.
There are ways you can help prevent a stroke. Some of the leading contributing factors include high blood pressure, smoking, poor diet, obesity and lack of exercise.