Seacoast’s Only Provider of Clot Retrieval

Portsmouth, New Hampshire – Portsmouth Regional Hospital is the only facility on the Seacoast to offer endovascular thrombectomy, also known as clot retrieval or stent retriever, for stroke. The time factor is paramount in the treatment of stroke. With this lifesaving procedure available here on the Seacoast, patients need not be transported to Boston or Portland for care.

“When the difference between a full recovery and a lifetime of disabilities and a forever-altered quality of life is the time it takes to get to treatment, the closer the treatment is the better,” said Archie McGowan, MD, Neuro and Interventional Radiologist at Portsmouth Regional Hospital. “When minutes count, we want to be able to do everything we can for a patient right here.”

Portsmouth Regional Hospital added endovascular thrombectomy to its stroke arsenal two years ago. Two patients per month on average qualify for the procedure. Nationally, 85 percent of strokes are classified as ischemic and 60 percent of those are either cardioembolic or large vessel, which are the types of stroke for which this intervention is an option.

This intervention is only one facet of Portsmouth Regional Hospital’s continuum of care of stroke patients. The time sensitive pieces start with outreach to local EMS, who look for specific signs of stroke (see separate release on Stroke Awareness Month) and call ahead to trigger a Stroke Alert when stroke is suspected. From there, as an accredited Primary Stroke Center, the hospital staff must meet or beat a rigorous timeline from the moment a patient comes through the door: 10 minutes to a greeting from a doctor, 20 minutes to CT (computed tomography), 45 minutes to review of CT by the team, and 60 minutes to interventional treatment.

“For a timeline like this to work, all members of the stroke team must know their role,” said Matthew Robertson, MD, Neurologist at Portsmouth Regional Hospital. “It’s all worth it when you know that you are very literally saving brain cells. And the timeline does not end with interventions like stent retrieval. There is a continuum of care.”

Nearly all stroke patients need to contend with some after effects. Although there is some brain damage that is not reversible, timely rehabilitation and the right therapies greatly increase a patient’s ability to develop compensatory functions – the keys to regaining quality of life. Portsmouth Regional Hospital offers both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services. In addition, the risk factors that contributed to the initial stroke may contribute to later strokes and other health challenges, so ongoing monitoring is recommended and is typically a part of the continuum of stroke care at Portsmouth Regional Hospital.