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Published On January 6, 2016

TECHNOLOGY

Turning a Corner in Stroke Care

Neurologist Lee Schwamm looks at 10 pivotal years in the treatment of stroke victims.

When Proto published its first issue in 2005, researchers who study stroke were just beginning to clarify the benefits of the therapeutic protein named tissue plasminogen activator (TPA). Massachusetts General Hospital had also just started a TeleStroke Program, which allowed neurologists to remotely offer their expertise to help diagnose and treat stroke patients within a critical time window.

Both ideas have made a major impact in how stroke victims are treated. MGH’s own TeleStroke program has expanded to 30 hospitals covering 6.5 million patients, and similar programs have taken root around the world. In this video, Lee Schwamm, vice chairman of the department of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, examines those and other treatments, including a revolutionary new use of catheters.

“Stroke affects about 800,000 patients each year and is the number one cause of adult disability in the United States," he says. “We are on the edge of an epidemic of stroke care if we don’t figure out ways to improve the health of our population.”