In a tight spot: New device may simplify stroke intervention

“If we can streamline the process ... other doctors will be able to step in to help patients in need across the U.S."

By: Ashley Schwab .

Dr. Thomas Haldis, co-inventor of the Stroke Guide Catheter
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In the past few years, there has been a huge leap forward in what patients can be offered to treat a stroke. Advancements have led to stroke patients having more options than ever before. A Sanford Health innovation, the Slide Guide Catheter, may progress stroke intervention further. The hope is to streamline the procedure for doctors.

From heart intervention to stroke innovation

Thomas Haldis, D.O., an interventional cardiologist and medical director of the cardiac lab at Sanford Health in Fargo, North Dakota, is one of the two inventors of the Slide Guide Catheter.

But, how did an interventional cardiologist get from heart surgery to developing a new device for stroke intervention? Dr. Haldis says there is a lot of similarity in the techniques used between the two disciplines.

“I started working with Sanford Health neurosurgeon Alexander Drofa, M.D., on stroke intervention. It turned out to be a really complex procedure because of equipment needed. The more I would perform the procedure, the more I would think, ‘There must be a simpler way.’ I began brainstorming how those catheters could be turned into a simpler system,” Dr. Haldis says.

“I also noticed the tools -– while cutting edge -– they seemed imperfect and incomplete. From there, Dr. Drofa and I created the Slide Guide Catheter.”

The future of interventional stroke care

The Slide Guide Catheter builds on current tools used during a stroke intervention procedure. The innovation would allow surgeons to use fewer devices, while making the surgical process more approachable and less cumbersome.

“The Slide Guide has the potential to speed up the procedure and may make it safer. Because it is simpler, we hope to open it up to other specialists,” Dr. Haldis says.

Typically, neurosurgeons are the only doctors who perform interventional stroke interventions. The issue is that the number of active interventional neurosurgeons completing interventional stroke interventions in the U.S. is approximately 500; whereas, the number of patients needing a brain stent procedure is approximately 200,000 per year across the country.

“Right now, there are not enough interventional neurosurgeons for the number of patients who need a stroke intervention procedure,” says Dr. Haldis. “But, as interventional cardiologists, we can learn how to perform these procedures.

“If we can streamline the process with the Slide Guide Catheter and other innovations currently in development, other doctors may be able to step in to help patients in need across the U.S.”

Hear more from Dr. Haldis sharing his ideas on how to deal with acute ischemic stroke.

Watch a video of how Dr. Haldis turned his idea into reality.

Learn more about how Sanford Health is innovating health care.

Posted In Health Information, Heart