Family Calls Unique Stroke Treatment a Christmas Miracle

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Jill Chadwick

News Director

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Cell: (913) 223-3974


Donna Foster says she was getting ready for work last week when she noticed her 69-year-old husband Jerry reaching out … unable to speak.

“Something inside told me he was having a stroke and I called 9-1-1,” Foster said. “Doctors at the first hospital told me Jerry needed to get to KU Hospital and fast because KU had the tools to help my husband.”

 The University of Kansas Health System is home to one of only a handful of Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Centers in the country … a designation which holds the health system to a higher standard of stroke care.  It’s also one of only 26 centers world-wide chosen to participate in the DAWN clinical research trial which was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine … that made all the difference in Jerry’s case. 

Michael Abraham, MD and neurologist at The University of Kansas Health System said the research is significant because it provides a longer window of opportunity for brain-saving intervention of stroke patients like Jerry.   “Prior to this research, patients who arrived to the hospital after eight hours following symptoms of a stroke did not have opportunity for proper treatment because we lacked the evidence supporting it.” 

            The research, which focused on clot removal, showed patients in certain cases could benefit from intervention up to 24 hours after the onset of stroke symptoms.  “The extended window for care is extremely beneficial for our stroke population that extends to Hays, Kan., and beyond,” Dr. Abraham said. “By the time they get to us, they may be outside the traditional eight-hour window for treatment.”

            Key to implementing the research is a software called RAPID perfusion imaging …also rare in the region.  “The software utilizes normal scans of the brain and quickly shows us if there is brain we can save through intervention,” Dr. Abraham said.  “Time is brain when you’re having a stroke as 2 million nerve cells are dying each passing minute.”

            Jerry is back home in time for Christmas following his treatment at The University of Kansas Health System.  “He’s doing well,” said Donna. “Every day he grows stronger.  His care is our Christmas miracle.”

            In the video below, Dr. Abraham explains more about the research and why the health system’s stroke program is frequently asked to participate in trial.  He also explains how RAPID perfusion imaging software assisted in the study.  B-roll shows the software in action.