A grandfather has revealed his amazing recovery following two strokes is down to a life-saving medical procedure – but it’s reportedly only available in major cities.
Brisbane grandfather Geoff Woodlands appeared on Channel 9’s A Current Affair to reveal his gratitude to the doctors who saved his life – amid calls for the procedure to be made available in regional Australia too.
Woodlands suffered his first stroke just months before his 70th birthday. He called his wife, who was at work at the time, and she immediately called an ambulance for him.
“My legs went jelly while I was having a shave and I collapsed in the bathroom,” he recalled on the show. “I never got any warning at all.”
He added: “The ambos, you know, they got here really quickly and got me in there quick, and the procedure must have happened fairly quick.”
Access to potentially life-saving treatment shouldn't depend on your postcode – but with strokes, it does. These doctors say every Australian deserves the best chance of survival and recovery – and they're pushing to make it happen. #9ACA | FULL STORY: https://t.co/4Vl023NblM pic.twitter.com/ijuKPeoZPw
— A Current Affair (@ACurrentAffair9) March 8, 2019
He underwent a procedure called endovascular clot retrieval, and explaining how it works, interventional neuro radiologist, Justin Whitley, told the show: “What happens is you’ve got a blood clot that is stuck within one of the larger arteries of the brain and our job is to try and pull that blood clot out.”
Essentially, tubes are inserted through an artery in the patient’s groin and fed right up to where the clot is in the brain. Dr Whitley added: “We then pass a very fine wire through the blood clot itself.
“And then take a very small micro-catheter over that wire, through the blood clot, and then take the wire out of the micro-catheter, and then this gives us room within the micro-catheter to put in a stent, a device that we use to trap the clot.”
Once the clot is removed it can have immediate results for the patient, with Geoff himself spending five days in hospital recovering.
Shockingly, six months later Geoff suffered another stroke, but he underwent the procedure again and it was another success.
However, the show pointed out that not all stroke sufferers are suitable for the procedure – with around 10 to 20 percent able to have it with success. Factors can include whether it’s a bleed or a clot on the brain, where it is and also the patient themselves.
While it’s only available in major cities at present – due to the amount of resources needed – stroke physician Dr Dashan Shah told the show: “Absolutely they would be better if there was a centre up north and one out west, but at the same time we need lots and lots of resources.”
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. A person may experience a stroke when there is a blocked artery (known as an ischaemic stroke), or when the artery bursts (known as a haemorrhagic stroke). It’s still not known which kind of stroke the ‘When He Comes Again’ singer suffered.
A stroke can be life-threatening and life-changing, with one in six people worldwide expected to suffer a stroke in their lifetime. Each year, five million people die because of a stroke, while a further five million are left permanently disabled.
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