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Times of India
10 December 2010
Kolkata, India

Now, Stent Hope for Stroke Patients
Stents have long been used to treat narrowing cardiac arteries. They have given a new lease of life to millions of heart patients, who would have otherwise needed bypass surgery. Now, the same little ring is set to widen brain arteries as well, acting as a protective shield against blood clots that could trigger a stroke.

A couple of private hospitals in the city have used cerebral stenting on an experimental basis. And the results, it was claimed, has been quite encouraging. "Stents prove to be effective when other methods have failed.

The limitations of current therapies have led to the development of mechanical devices that can be used to either remove the clot or open up the vessel with an expandable stent, a small, mesh-like tube like the spring in a ballpoint pen," said stroke neurologist Jayanta Ray, who has performed a stenting procedure.

But a brain stent has to be implanted within six hours of the onset of a stroke. Unlike cardiac stents, brain stents could even be retrievable. They can be mounted inside an artery to allow the blood to flow through and then taken back. Stenting of coronary arteries has been performed for many years in patients who have myocardial infarction. This treatment has been seen to be effective and safe.

Some experts, however, pointed out that the effectiveness and safety of stenting a brain artery is unclear, as it has been studied for only a year or so. "We need some more research on this before we can go ahead," said Tomonash Bhattacharya, tropical medicine expert.

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