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Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health’s Lancaster General Hospital is the first and only hospital in Lancaster County to provide mechanical thrombectomy, an advanced stroke treatment that involves physically removing large blood clots. Until now, stroke patients needing interventional care due to a large clot would need to be transported to a hospital out of Lancaster County to receive treatment.

About 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year. For many patients, a stroke-causing blood clot can be treated with clot-busting medication called tPA. However, for the segment of strokes caused by a large blood clot, an advanced interventional procedure is required.

Mechanical thrombectomy is a stroke procedure in which a large blood clot is removed by with a wire-caged device, called a stent retriever. First, a catheter is threaded through an artery in the groin, leading up to the blood clot in the brain. Then a stent retriever is inserted into the catheter to remove the clot blockage, restoring blood flow.

“Strokes caused by a large blood clot are especially dangerous as they have the greatest chance for resulting in long-term disability or death,” said Ram Chavali, MD, Medical Director, Endovascular Stroke Intervention. “To offer this advanced procedure at Lancaster General Hospital means higher-risk stroke patients will have access to timely, higher-quality care right here in Lancaster.”

Know the symptoms of stroke by remembering the acronym FAST: Face, Arms, Speech, Time:

F = FACE: Ask the person to smile. Do both sides of their face move equally? (Normal) Does one side of the face not move at all? (Abnormal)

A = ARM: Ask the person to raise both arms. Do both arms move equally? (Normal) Does one arm drift downward compared to the other? (Abnormal)

S = SPEECH: Ask the person to speak a simple sentence. Does the person use correct words with no slurring? (Normal) Do they slur their speech, use inappropriate words, or are unable to speak at all? (Abnormal)

T = TIME: If you observe any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Every minute matters.

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