In the Nick of Time

Fast work by GW Hospital physicians made all the difference for D.C. Superior Court Judge Lee Satterfield after a stroke.

At the close of a meeting, Chief Judge Lee F. Satterfield told his colleagues that he had a headache and the left side of his body didn’t feel right. When he spoke, his speech was slurred. Recognizing these symptoms as those of a stroke, they called 9-1-1.

Judge Lee F. SatterfieldThe ambulance took Judge Satterfield to GW Hospital, where a team of physicians and surgeons immediately set to work.

“When he came into the ER, he couldn’t move his left side,” says Wayne Olan, MD, interventional neuroradiologist and Director of Interventional & Endovascular Neurosurgery. “An angiogram showed the mid-cerebral artery was blocked, so the right side of his brain was not getting blood. He could communicate, because the left side of the brain handles language and critical thinking.”

After administering a blood-clot-breaking drug — a tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) — the physicians saw no change in Satterfield’s condition, so they made a decision to extract the blockage using the Penumbra System.®

In this procedure, a tiny catheter is threaded into a blood vessel through the groin. Once the catheter reaches an artery — in this case, behind the eye — another catheter emerges from it and goes to the brain, where it “vacuums” out the blood clot.

After two treatments with the Penumbra system, blood flow was restored to Satterfield’s brain. In essence, the team reversed the stroke.

“The faster you move the better,” says Albert Chun, MD, interventional radiologist, and Assistant Professor of Radiology, who was co-operator on the judge’s case. “The time limit is six hours — Judge Satterfield came to us after he was already three hours into the stroke.”

Kathleen Burger, DO, stroke neurologist and Director of Stroke Programs, says every second is important, since “time lost is brain lost.”

“GW is fortunate to have talented endovascular experts ready at any time,” says Dr. Burger. “We’re the only hospital in the city to be recognized for our stroke response times, but the objective is always how to get lab results faster … and how to treat stroke faster and more efficiently.”

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Kathleen Burger Kathleen Burger, DO
Stroke Neurologist,
Director of Stroke
Albert Chun Albert Chun, MD
Radiologist, Assistant Professor of Radiology
Wayne Olan Wayne Olan, MD
Interventional Neuroradiologist, Director of Interventional and Endovascular Neurosurgery
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Stroke Treatment

The Stroke Treatment Center is recognized as an outstanding program. It was awarded a Certificate of Distinction for Primary Stroke Centers by The Joint Commission, which recognizes centers that make exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care.

Learn more >

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