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Non-invasive Imaging Saves and Extends a Life after Stroke - “I got my husband back”

Sam Hachem was on an international flight with his wife Laurice when he became dizzy. On returning home to Tampa, Sam was immediately seen by his doctor and found to be having transient stroke symptoms from a 98% blockage of the artery at the base of his brain, the basilar artery.

These types of strokes are especially dangerous and are catastrophic if the blood supply is suddenly cut off.

Sam was treated with a basilar stent which propped open the artery and kept blood flowing to the back of his brain. Afterwards, his condition required very close monitoring to make sure the blood stayed flowing through the stent.

Fortunately, a non-invasive test that uses radiation-free Magnetic Resonance Imaging was available.  Previously, patients like Sam had to undergo multiple catheter angiograms, an invasive test that uses a catheter inserted through an incision in the groin to inject dye into the arteries and get an image of the blood flow.  In comparison, NOVA qMRA®, is a completely non-invasive imaging test that doesn’t require injection of contrast dye or expose the patient to radiation.  It’s also a more accurate way to look at blood flow, since it gives an actual quantitative measurement of the amount of blood flowing in each cerebral artery. 

Several times over a period of 4 years, Sam’s condition suddenly changed or symptoms reappeared. The availability of NOVA avoided the risk of having an invasive angiogram and gave his doctors quantitative information on blood flow to guide his care.

Laurice attributes Sam’s recovery and the additional years they were able to spend together to the amazing team at BayCare Health in Tampa and at the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago where the NOVA technology was developed. In gratitude, the Hachem’s donated a NOVA system to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa to make it available to their local community. 

Epilogue

Sam Hachem volunteered to be the first patient for the new NOVA system in Tampa. Even though it was only meant to be a sytem test, the NOVA study revealed an unexpected finding:  Sam was experiencing bleeding into his brain.  Catching this early saved his life; as he was immediately admitted to the hospital and treated. During the period that Sam was in the hospital, NOVA was used to closely monitor the blood flow through the stent on a weekly basis while he was taken off his blood thinner medications. The bleeding resolved and Sam was able to return home to his family.

As Laurice gratefully expressed, “We gave someone else a gift and we got a gift back.”

Read more about the NOVA study and how it is helping to support treatment decisions for patients at risk of stroke.

Learn more by visiting the VasSol website and viewing the Hachem story in the news.

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