Stroke care in Northwestern Ontario continues to make improvements for better outcomes

Endovascular Therapy (EVT) treatment uses a small tube, a guide wire and stent to remove large stroke-causing clots from the brain.

A stroke can occur when a person has had a blockage, or blood clot, reducing blood flow to the brain. This type of stroke is called an ischemic stroke. Permanent damage to the brain tissue can occur if the blood supply is reduced or blocked for more than a few hours.

Patients in Northwestern Ontario have access to Endovascular Therapy (EVT) and the clot-busting drug, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (our Hospital).

“Patients can receive both tPA and EVT if they are within the treatment window,” said Dr. Hassan, Medical Lead for the Northwestern Ontario Regional Stroke Network (NWORSN). EVT is a stroke treatment for patients with acute ischemic strokes that removes large stroke-causing clots from the brain and substantially improves the chance for a better outcome. This treatment is available at our Hospital and is one of 24 sites across Canada able to provide this treatment for patients with ischemic strokes.

EVT treatment uses a small tube, a guide wire and stent to remove large stroke-causing clots from the brain. “This area of treatment is rapidly evolving and it’s very exciting to be able to have this available for patients in Northwestern Ontario as the treatment can substantially improve patient’s lives,” said Dr. Graeme Marchuk, a Neurosurgeon and EVT provider at our Hospital.

In addition to treatment options, the system improvements at our Hospital include Emergency Medical System triage, transportation pathways and a pre-alert communication process. System protocols and processes for medical redirect and regional bypasses are in place for our region to provide better access to brain and vascular imaging. Partnerships with our Hospital’s Regional Critical Care Response program provide many regional sites the opportunity for the Neurologist to have “eyes on the patients” during the assessment phrase to assist with decision making of treatment options. The system also provides internal processes for our Hospital such as Code Stroke to refine the speed and efficiencies of the stroke team and resources for time saving treatment.

Stroke is a medical emergency and both EVT and tPA treatment options are only available within a window of time after symptoms appear. If you are experiencing signs of stoke including a sudden onset of facial droop, an arm that you cannot raise or slurred speech, call 911 immediately.

Please contact Trina Diner, Manager of the Northwestern Ontario Regional Stroke Network for further information via email at or by telephone at (807) 684-6702.

Publishing this article in no way serves as an endorsement from NWO Regional Stroke Network. The NWO Regional Stroke Network does not verify the veracity of information in this item and any views expressed are of the author(s) alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of NWO Regional Stroke Network​