Swedish Medical Center
February 11, 2015


February 11, 2015

Media Contact 
Betsy Donnelly 
Phone 913-236-7757  

Medical Report Confirms "Inside the Artery" Therapy Vastly Improves Stroke Patient Outcomes

Clot Retrieval Procedure Increases Positive Outcomes from 29% to 53% and Reduces Mortality Rate

(Englewood CO) "This clinical trial proves beyond any doubt that inside the artery therapy is the best possible treatment for patients suffering an acute ischemic stroke from a large artery occlusion," according to Donald Frei, MD, Neuro Interventional Surgeon at Swedish Medical Center and Radiology Imaging Associates in Englewood, CO. He’s also co-author of a worldwide medical report published today by the New England Journal of Medicine which confirms that a clot retrieval procedure known as endovascular treatment (ET) dramatically improves patient outcomes after stroke.

And he should know. He’s considered one of the nation’s pre-eminent neurological specialists, with Swedish Medical Center hand picked as one of only six stroke centers in the US to participate in this groundbreaking medical study.

The clinical trial, known as ESCAPE (Endovascular treatment for Small Core and Anterior circulation Proximal occlusion with Emphasis on minimizing CT to recanalization times) presented overwhelming evidence that ET improves patient outcomes from 29 percent to 53 percent.

In many cases according to the report, instead of suffering major neurological disability, patients went home to resume their lives, regaining full independence. The overall mortality rate was reduced from two in 10 patients for standard of care treatment to one in 10 patients — a 50 per cent reduction with ET.

Pamela Nelson suffered a stroke last June and was treated at Swedish Medical Center by Dr. Frei using this procedure.

"I feel I've fully recovered," Nelson said from her Denver home. "I wouldn't be here without this treatment. Swedish is the place for stroke care."

ET is performed by inserting a thin tube into the artery in the groin, through the body, and into the brain vessels to the clot. This is done under image-guided care using an X-ray. The clot is then removed and pulled out, restoring blood flow to the brain.

Dr. Frei, who is also the President-Elect of the Society of Neuro Interventional Surgery with headquarters in Fairfax, VA, has been successfully treating stroke patients with "inside the artery" therapy for several years in his practice, and trusts the findings of this clinical trial.

"The vast majority of our patients benefit from ET," he said. "But the key factor is time. The patient's best chance for an independent outcome is to get to a comprehensive stroke center as fast as possible."

Swedish Medical Center is Colorado's First Comprehensive Stroke Center, and cares for more stroke patients than any other hospital in the state. Currently, they are participating in a dozen neurovascular disease trials. According to the hospital’s President and CEO Mary M. White, their success is a team effort.

"Our team of physicians and staff are working together to deliver the best patient care and the most exceptional outcomes in our multi-state region," White said. "The results of the ESCAPE study provide more evidence that Swedish Medical Center truly is Colorado’s Number One Brain Team. Our care is collaborative, multi-disciplinary and the most advanced, evidence-based care available. I am proud of what we’re able to offer our patients and community."

695,000 Americans suffer an acute ischemic stroke each year, and it should always be treated as a medical emergency.

"Stroke is still the leading cause of adult disability," Frei added. "But with clot retrieval, we can get most people back to independence."

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About Swedish Medical Center

Swedish Medical Center serves as the Rocky Mountain Region’s referral center for neurotrauma and as the region’s first Joint Commission certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, a recognized leader in the most advanced stroke care. An acute care hospital with 368 licensed beds. Swedish is located in the south metro Denver area. Annually, Swedish cares for more than 200,000 patients with a team of 2,000 dedicated employees, 500 volunteers and more than 1,300 physicians.

About RIA Neurovascular

RIA Neurovascular provides world-class stroke treatment at Swedish Medical Center. Our physicians treat patients from a five state region (Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Montana) and are known internationally as being leaders in the treatment of Acute Ischemic Stroke. RIA Neurovascular with Swedish Medical Center was handpicked as one of six sites to participate in the ESCAPE stroke trial.

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