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Penny’s patient journey – how INR procedures are changing lives

By October 3, 2019 No Comments

It was an exciting and memorable occasion.

Penny and her husband Rodney were so proud of their sons, Daniel and William, who had just been awarded the gold medal at the International Independent Publishing Awards for their book ‘Fight for Survival’. As a result, the whole family had traveled to New York for the presentation and for a much-deserved holiday together.

What should have been a routine 16-hour return flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, turned out to be the beginning of an extremely concerning chain of events. It all started with Penny experiencing neck pain after arriving in Sydney.

Over the next few days the pain persisted, developing into a severe migraine. Two days later, Penny collapsed in her kitchen just when her husband Rodney was about to leave for work. Luckily, Rodney recognised the signs of a stroke and immediately called an ambulance. Penny was brought to Royal North Shore Hospital and was treated by our Stroke Unit and Interventional Neuroradiology (INR) service.

Upon reflection Penny said she was lucky she collapsed while her husband was still at home and that he was able to recognise the signs of a stroke so quickly. This helped to ensure she received timely care and treatment.

At Royal North Shore Hospital, it was discovered the neck pain Penny had been experiencing following her flight was actually indicative of a dissected artery in her neck. This then led to the formation of a blood clot, and ultimately a stroke.

Luckily, Royal North Shore Hospital is one of six hospitals in New South Wales equipped to perform a specialised INR procedure known as Endovascular Clot Retrieval (ECR). This procedure was used to treat Penny. This treatment is used with patients who suffer an ischaemic stroke. It uses the latest imaging technology to guide a tiny tube through the body and into the brain to locate a blood clot. The clot is then captured and removed using a stent or suction device. It has been shown to restore independence to 70% of eligible stroke patients who undergo ECR.

Interventional Neuroradiology procedures, such as ECR, can deliver precise, targeted treatment for complex diseases and disorders using minimally invasive image-guided techniques and technology. By treating these conditions through an endovascular approach, (using arteries and veins), to reach the site of disease, the need for open surgery can often be avoided. This can drastically improve recovery time and also decrease procedural risks and associated costs for patients.

“My family and I live an active lifestyle and I am the primary carer for my son, Daniel, who has cerebral palsy so maintaining my independence and mobility was important to me,” Penny said.

“I have fully recovered in such a short period of time and I’m able to enjoy so many things. I am tremendously grateful for the specialised care I received from the staff at Royal North Shore Hospital and the quality of life I now have after the stroke.”

If you would like to support our Interventional Neuroradiology Services at Royal North Shore Hospital you can do so by clicking the ‘Donate’ button at the top of this page.

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