A major finding at Shaare Zedek: Cerebral catheterization can help some patients who have experienced a mild stroke. The procedure can prevent their condition from worsening, according to a study at the Helmsley Neurological Center at Shaare Zedek, led by Doctors Roni Eichel and Horrany Nizar of the Stroke Unit.

Each year in Israel, 18-thousand people in Israel experience a stroke. They are Israel’s third-biggest cause of death after cancer and heart disease. Roughly 60-percent of those strokes are categorized as ‘mild.’ For 30-percent of those mild stroke patients, categorized in the emergency room as cases with mild neurological impairment, symptoms actually worsen during hospitalization and cause functional disability. This study found that for some of these patients, whose imaging showed a clot causing a large blood vessel blockage in the brain, cerebral catheterization could prevent further deterioration.

Dr. Nizar, a senior physician, and stroke specialist explains, “If a person returns to full or almost full daily activity within a short period of time (a couple of days to several weeks) the event is considered mild…The treatment approach depends on the patient’s level of basic functioning prior to the event, the risk involved in performing the procedure and the anticipated success rate. It is important to note that some patients present mild signs of a stroke, however, the brain imaging shows a blockage of a large artery in the brain. Then, the question is always, what are the benefits and risks of performing a catheterization procedure to remove the clot from the brain of these patients?”

Dr. Eichel, director of the Stroke Unit, and of the Neurological ICU, said, “In our study, we showed that catheterizations of patients with mild signs of stroke who have had a large artery blocked in the brain is safe and even recommended as a preventative measure to avoid the decline of brain stroke symptoms and to prevent mild neurological damage that can sometimes become more severe and impair the patient’s quality of life.”

The addition of the Helmsley Neurological Center, and its Department of Neurosurgery, Neurological ICU, and the Stroke Unit, means that Shaare Zedek, as a Level-One Trauma Center, “is positioned to best address the treatment of neurological disease and respond to traumatic head injuries resulting from accidents and terror attacks, while embracing new research studies for the betterment of medical practice both here in Israel and abroad,” said Professor Jonathan Halevy, Director General of Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

For more about the Stroke Unit at Shaare Zedek, click to see an interview with Dr. Roni Eichel.