On Oct. 20, cerebrovascular stroke experts from the Mount Sinai Health System performed a thrombectomy procedure at Mount Sinai Queens to save the life of a 92-year-old Queens woman who was suffering a major stroke as a result of a blood clot in her brain, marking the first time this advanced technique has ever been performed in the borough.
Until last week, every Queens resident who needed this procedure had to be transferred out of the borough since there was no thrombectomy-capable center in Queens.
When it comes to stroke, “time is brain” since every passing minute when blood flow to the brain is blocked, millions of neurons are lost and nearby brain tissue can be damaged. It’s estimated that nearly half of all ischemic strokes—which occur when the arteries that carry blood to the brain become narrowed or blocked—are due to large vessel occlusion (LVO) of a major intracranial artery, and leave the sufferer with severe symptoms and deficits and are often the deadliest form of stroke, partially because the standard “clot busting” drugs often prove to be ineffective for LVOs.
For certain large vessel occlusion stroke patients, a procedure called thrombectomy can be performed to remove the clot and quickly restore blood flow to the brain. During a thrombectomy, a highly specialized endovascular surgeon threads a catheter through an artery in the groin up to the patient’s brain and uses a mechanical device to remove the clot.
J Mocco, MD, director of Mount Sinai’s cerebrovascular center—who performed the thrombectomy—explains that this first in the borough is the first step in the development of an expansive stroke center that is being built at Mount Sinai Queens and slated to open next summer. The center will facilitate the fastest and most high-quality thrombectomy care in the world and will have the most advanced stroke imaging and treatment equipment. Mount Sinai stroke experts anticipate that having the imaging, diagnostic ability and treatment options in one location—within a few yards of the emergency room doors—will cut “door to needle” time by nearly 85 percent from national targets of 90 minutes to 15 minutes.
Maddalena Sacramone, 92, spends time every day in the kitchen of Sac’s Place, an Italian eatery in Astoria. Shortly after leaving the restaurant on Oct. 20, she called one of her sons and said that she was in pain and not feeling well. An ambulance brought her to Mount Sinai Queens, where she was imaged and diagnosed with two blood clots in her brain that were causing her to experience stroke symptoms.
Once it was determined that she was having a stroke, Dr. Mocco rushed to Mount Sinai Queens to perform a thrombectomy procedure. His surgical team removed blood clots from two different parts of Sacramone’s brain and, less than a week later, her mobility and speech is back to full functioning.