experimental stent-like device removed blood clots in stroke
patients more effectively than standard mechanical treatment, a
Named SOLITAIRE, it has a self-expanding, stent-like design and,
once inserted into a clot using a thin catheter tube, it
compresses and traps the clot. The clot is then removed by
withdrawing the device, thus reopening the blocked blood vessel.
"This new device heralds a new era in acute stroke care," said
lead study author Jeffrey L. Saver, professor of neurology at the
David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los
"We are going from our first generation of clot-removing
procedures, which were only moderately good in reopening target
arteries, to now having a highly effective tool. This really is a
game-changing result," added Saver, according to a university
The standard Food and Drug Administration-approved mechanical
device -- a corkscrew-type clot remover -- is called the MERCI
Retriever. About 87 percent of all strokes are caused by clots
blocking a blood vessel supplying the brain.
In the first US clinical trial, SOLITAIRE opened blocked vessels
without causing symptomatic bleeding in or around the brain in 61
percent of patients.
Its use also led to better survival three months after a stroke.
There was a 17.2 percent mortality rate with the new device,
compared to the older 38.2 percent.
These findings were presented Feb 3 by Saver at the American
Stroke Association's 2012 international conference in New Orleans.