Endovascular Rescue Therapy

Endovascular rescue therapy, also known as neurointerventional therapy, is a new treatment available for eligible patients experiencing acute ischemic stroke. The treatment involves placing a catheter into the brain and direct removal/retrieval of the clot that’s causing the stroke.

Endovascular therapy must be done within 6 to 8 hours of the onset of a stroke, depending on the location. Studies show that patients who receive endovascular rescue therapy after intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IV tPA) have better outcomes than patients treated with medical therapy alone. Endovascular treatment can restore blood flow within minutes.

The UT Southwestern Difference

UT Southwestern offers endovascular rescue therapy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We always have a team on call, ready to accept stroke patients.

The number of patients we have treated with endovascular rescue therapy has doubled year over year, and we have many highly qualified and experienced physicians who can perform the treatment. Other hospitals refer their most severe ischemic stroke patients to UT Southwestern because we are the only Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center in North Texas.

What to Expect

If you or a loved one notices signs of a stroke, call 911 and go to the nearest stroke center in an ambulance. All strokes are medical emergencies. Most hospitals can apply IV tPA to begin breaking down the blood clot that’s causing the ischemic stroke.

Once you’re stabilized, you may be transferred to a higher-level stroke center such as UT Southwestern for endovascular rescue therapy.

Not all ischemic stroke patients are eligible for endovascular therapy. It will only be considered in patients who:

  • Are at least 18 years old
  • Are equal to or greater than a 6 on the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS)
  • Have received IV tPA within 4.5 hours of the onset of symptoms
  • Have a proven large arterial blockage on imaging
  • Are eligible to receive endovascular therapy within 6 to 8 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms, depending on location

If you meet these qualifications, a neurosurgeon or neurointerventional radiologist will begin endovascular therapy as soon as possible. We’ll thread a thin wire tube with a wire mesh (called a stent retriever) at its end through an artery in your groin and, using X-ray and contrast dye to guide us, maneuver it up into the brain until it reaches the blocked vessel. At the site of the blockage, we’ll push the tube into the clot, expand the stent retriever to grab the clot, and remove it as the tube is pulled out.

The entire procedure takes about two hours. After surgery, you’ll receive care in our dedicated neuro intensive care unit (Neuro ICU).

Request an Appointment

If you or a loved one notices signs of a stroke, call 911 immediately and go to the nearest stroke center in an ambulance.

If you are not experiencing stroke symptoms and want to schedule an appointment with a stroke specialist at UT Southwestern’s facilities in Dallas, or to learn more about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.