Howard's Instant Lifesaving Care
Waking up one Monday morning to go to work, Howard Schumacher noticed his coordination was off. He kept spilling his coffee and had trouble when he tried to get dressed a few minutes later. He knew something was wrong.
After Schumacher arrived at Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus and was evaluated by Emergency and Trauma Center team members, Bayhealth Interventional Neurologist and Medical Director of Neurology Sumeet Multani, MD, was called in for a stroke consult. An angiogram revealed Schumacher had a sizable blood clot in his middle cerebral artery. As an active 55-year-old suddenly unable to do routine tasks, he said he felt nervous not knowing what would happen, but knew he was in very good hands at Bayhealth.
Schumacher underwent an emergency thrombectomy, a sophisticated interventional procedure in which Dr. Multani threaded a catheter, a thin hollow tube, through a small incision in the groin to access the blood vessel. This minimally invasive technique uses advanced imaging and equipment to guide the removal of the clot, restoring blood flow and oxygen to the brain.
Bayhealth provides care for a range of neurological and vascular neurological conditions. Both Bayhealth hospitals have earned accolades for reducing the time between a patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), the only FDA-approved drug to treat stroke. This clot-buster reduces stroke effects when given no more than four and a half hours after symptoms first appear, and ideally within three hours.
A thrombectomy can be used instead of or in addition to tPA to lessen a patient’s chance of disability. Schumacher was the first Bayhealth patient to receive this lifesaving treatment after interventional neurology programs were introduced earlier this year. Dr. Multani is among an elite group of neurologists — fewer than 500 nationwide — who are fellowship-trained and board certified in this highly specialized field. These neurointerventions, as they’re also called, can address many blood vessel abnormalities in the head and neck. When time is so critical with stroke, aneurysms or brain bleeds, patients can get needed care at Bayhealth without the delay of having to travel to a larger medical center.
“A swift intervention makes a significant difference in a patient’s outcome by minimizing brain damage that can lead to permanent disability,” said Dr. Multani. “On the stroke scale, Howard’s condition was rated a 15 upon initial evaluation and was reduced to a four just a couple hours after the thrombectomy.”
With the severity of Schumacher’s blood clot, this procedure drastically turned around his outcome. His deficits in coordination and speech that first resulted from the blockage were reversed soon afterwards. For many stroke patients, rehabilitation involves occupational, physical and speech therapy to regain and further improve affected areas of function.
A 15-year Dover resident, Schumacher is glad Bayhealth is close by and took great care of him when he needed it most. He has follow-up appointments with Bayhealth Neurology and is taking it easy at home on his road to recovery. “I’m getting my strength back day by day, but this experience has taught me the importance of slowing down and listening to my body. Instead of constantly being on the go, I'm taking time to smell the roses and enjoy life.
Visit Bayhealth.org/Neurosciences for more information on our team and the services we offer.