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Groundbreaking Procedure Saves MD Man After Devastating Stroke

Updated: Thursday, April 10 2014, 01:35 PM EDT

One person dies from stroke every four minutes in America and is the fourth leading cause of death in the US. It is also a major cause of adult disability.

One local man made a remarkable recovery from a devastating stroke thanks to a quick-thinking team of doctors. Two years ago Patrick Graham was visiting his son in Perry Hall.

"I rode around on my son's motor scooter and I felt terrific," Graham recalled. But just one hour later everything would change.

"I had my grandson in my hand and I said, 'Pat you better take Ryden because I don't feel good,' and that's the last I remember," Graham said. At age 68 Graham was blindsided by a stroke.

As he was coming out of that stroke, Graham says he was hit with an even bigger stroke that knocked him totally unconscious. He lost control of both sides of his body and was rushed to Sinai Hospital where a team of doctors jumped into action.

"He had what in essence was called a top of the basilar artery occlusion, which basically means the clot is in the main vessel that supplies the brain stem, which basically supplies life's function itself," Interventional Neuroradiologist Dr. John Brunson said.

Dr. Brunson was at the airport when he got the call about Graham's case and rushed to Sinai to perform a life-saving procedure.

"We then take this kind of mechanical device called a thrombectomy device and go up into the brain artery itself and the device captures the clot," Dr. Brunson explained.

It was a groundbreaking procedure and worked wonderfully.

Then next morning Graham woke up, looked at his family and asked, "What happened?" His family filled in the blanks, telling him about the doctor who'd saved his life in the middle of the night.

It would be two years before Graham got the chance to thank him in person and when that day finally came, it was hard to find the words. "I'm speechless," Graham said.

In Graham's case teamwork and timing was everything but even the best outcomes require hard work. The procedure Graham underwent has a 60-65% success rate. He suffered some memory loss and his vision isn't what it used to be but all things considered Graham says, "So far, I have to say I'm perfect."

Despite his incredible recovery, Graham is now at a greater risk for having another stroke and still visits Sinai twice a month. His case was also a first: The device used to remove his clot had never before been used in that part of the brain in the state of Maryland.

Groundbreaking Procedure Saves MD Man After Devastating Stroke


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