Nice Stent If You Can Get It

Issue 04-10-17   |   Reviewer:   Craig A. Turner, Ph.D.


A clot-retrieving stent can dramatically reduce long-term healthcare costs and enhance the quality of life for people who have had strokes, yet it is only extensively used in roughly 150 stroke centers in the United States.

While initial cost for installation of the stent is about $17,000 more than that of traditional treatment methods, its outcome is better, and the long-term savings could be about $23,000.

Location and its effects on accessibility is the issue at this point. While initial cost clearly will play a role in these medical decisions, time is an issue as well. "Time is brain" is the maxim of those tasked with taking care of stroke patients. This stent is intriguing, because it not only provides a path for blood flow, but it also removes the clot. The stent itself, sold by Medtronic Plc and Stryker Corp., is sold for approximately $8,000 and would be useful for about 240,000 of the 700,000 stroke patients per year.

The limited availability of trained staff to install these means location matters, which infers that some patients will receive the best treatment, while others will receive the traditional treatments due to where they live or have their stroke.   

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