New treatment for stroke patients saving lives


by KING 5 HealthLink

Posted on December 11, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States.

A stroke caused by brain hemorrhage is the most devastating. Brain hemorrhages account for 13 percent of all strokes, and are fatal for 75 percent of patients. 

Now, there’s a new way to treat the problem, and it’s saving lives.

Five years ago, Jon Galvan suffered a stroke at work. He is lucky to be alive and moving around well.

“I felt a pop in my head,” Galvan said.

Galvin had a hemorrhage inside his brain. The common way of removing it was a craniotomy, where doctors made a large incision in the scalp.

 "Open craniotomy may do so much harm, that it negates the benefit of getting the blood clot out," said Neil Martin of the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery.

Currently, Martin is performing a much less invasive procedure. First, he makes a tiny incision through the eyebrow. An endoscope with a light and camera on the tip helps him navigate with GPS precision. CT scans guide Martin to the clot, which he suctions out.

“This operation offers the ability to remove the blood clot without imposing additional insult or damage to the brain," Martin said.

Galvin was one patient who had the procedure. He’s still working on his mobility, but has come a long way.

"I just look at it as another series of, of, not problems, but obstacles that I have to overcome,” Galvan said.

And he won’t give up until he overcomes all of them.  Doctor Martin and his colleagues have been working on the innovative procedure to help patients like Gavan for more than 10 years.