Texas Stroke Institute August 17, 2015

Blood clots deep in a stroke patient’s brain can now be removed more quickly, with less risk and a shorter recovery time, thanks to new technology. It was used recently by the neurology and neurosurgical team at Plaza Medical Center to treat a 39-year-old stroke patient.

Medical City Fort Worth is one of two hospitals in Texas and the first in Tarrant County to treat a patient suffering from a hemorrhagic stroke using the Apollo™ System. It allows a neurosurgeon to remove blood from the brain quickly in a minimally invasive procedure. The procedure offers improved outcomes for patients who previously had limited or no treatment options. Many otherwise have a poor prognosis for recovery.

Intracerebral hemorrhage, a type of hemorrhagic stroke, occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the surrounding brain, affecting more than 45,000 patients per year in the U.S. The condition can cause disability or death. The most common cause of intracerebral hemorrhage is high blood pressure.

Apollo uses suction, irrigation and gentle vibration within a small metal wand to remove soft tissue and fluid from deep in the brain. The procedure starts with planning a pathway to the hemorrhage. Neuronavigation, or a GPS-like system for the brain, is then used to locate the blood, seen through a small camera. The blood is removed through a small incision in the skull.

“Prior to having this endoscopic technique available, we typically did not operate on deep hemorrhagic strokes, given the deep-seated location in the brain,” Fort Worth neurosurgeon Greg Ward, M.D., said. “The Apollo system allows us to treat those bleeds with minimal manipulation and disruption of normal brain tissue.”