Show will Feature Merci Retrieval System

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Images of a stroke case treated successfully with a new device at West Virginia University will be part of an episode of “ER” airing at 10 p.m. (EDT) Thursday night on NBC.

            According to Ansaar Rai, M.D., an assistant professor of radiology at WVU, images of a diagnostic CT scan and the invasive angiogram and clot retrieval that will be used by the show’s medical staff were taken at WVU Hospitals several months ago, and helped the stroke team there save a woman’s life.

            “The patient here was treated with a device called the Merci Retrieval System,” Dr. Rai said, “which actually physically searches out the blood clot and removes it from the blood vessel in the brain. The patient on “ER” will be treated with the same device.”

            Technical support for the episode was provided by WVU Hospitals and other hospitals in Tennessee, Connecticut and California.

            The device has been in use by WVU physicians for about six months, and Rai estimates that it has been used to treat five or six patients.

The Merci Retrieval System is the first FDA-approved medical device to treat ischemic strokes. Ischemic strokes occur when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked by a blood clot which can impair brain function and cause severe disability or death. Of the 700,000 strokes that occur annually in the United States, approximately 83 percent are ischemic.

            According to the American Heart Association, stroke killed 163,538 people in 2001 and is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the U.S.

        “Early treatment of stroke is vital to improving patient outcomes,” Rai said

- WVU -

For more information:
Bill Case, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087

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