Treatment with Novel Stroke Device Has 39-Year-Old Stroke Survivor Returning to Marathon Form

Posted at 8:01 AM, Dec 05, 2018
and last updated 2019-02-12 21:41:57-05

(BPT) - When Angela (Angie) Kohler, then 37 years old, arrived at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, her speech was slurred, she couldn’t move the left side of her body and she didn’t understand what was happening to her. Just less than an hour before, the high school psychologist, wife and mother was at the gym running on a treadmill training for her next half-marathon.

“I never suspected I was having a stroke. I am young, healthy, a non-smoker and an avid runner,” said Angie, who is now 39 years old. “I was by myself running at the gym when I felt my arm jump in a weird way,” Angie recounts. “When I tried to check my pulse, I couldn’t lift my arm. Then as I stepped off the treadmill I lost feeling on my left side and collapsed on the gym floor.”

In a split second, Angie became one of the more than 795,000 people who suffer a stroke each year in the United States.1 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while most strokes occur in people 65 and older, more than a third of people hospitalized for stroke in 2009 were younger than that.2 Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of serious disability in the U.S.3

But there was good news for Angie in that a fellow gym member discovered her only several minutes after she fell and called 9-1-1. Paramedics arrived quickly and transported her to an accredited comprehensive stroke center, bypassing two hospitals along the way that were less equipped to treat stroke patients.

That’s where she underwent a minimally invasive procedure with the EMBOTRAP II Revascularization Device, a next generation stent retriever that stroke physicians thread through an artery to physically capture and remove life-threatening blood clots to restore blood flow to the brain when drug treatment is either ineffective or not indicated.

For Angie, the thrombectomy procedure was a success. She regained mobility two hours after she awoke from surgery. This is also when she learned what had happened to her.

“When I woke up, I thought I was still at the gym and it seemed a little curious to me that all the people were standing around me,” Angie quipped. “I wanted to go home right away. I told the staff, ‘I have a life, a family and a job and I need to get out of here!’”

Angie was discharged from the hospital less than a week later and required no physical therapy after treatment. Her initial results were consistent with recently published clinical studies where the EMBOTRAP II Device was able to restore blood flow to the brain in more than 80 percent of patients, and that after 90 days, more than two-thirds remained functionally independent.4, 8, 9

"Mechanical thrombectomy with newer generation devices is increasingly becoming standard treatment for stroke," said Osama Zaidat, MD, Stroke and Neuroscience Medical Director of St. Vincent Mercy Hospital, Angie’s stroke physician, and lead author of the ARISE II study. “The key is to quickly recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke and get to a hospital that has the capability of performing a thrombectomy, if necessary.”

While thrombectomies are becoming more common in stroke treatment, many hospitals still do not have the capabilities to perform the procedure, which may delay treatment and lower the chances of a good outcome.5 Every minute blood flow is blocked, as many as 1.9 million brain cells die.6

Today, Angie is back running half-marathons and only has slight reminders of that fateful day she had a stroke. She says she feels a little more tired, has minor short-term memory issues and some slight motor control issues when typing, a relatively small price to pay for what she went through.

Recognizing the symptoms of a stroke and acting quickly can not only save lives but can greatly improve the chances of making a good recovery. To spot the warning signs of a stroke, the National Stroke Association advises people to use the F.A.S.T. acronym:7

  • Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
  • Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

For more information about the EMBOTRAP II Device, visit

1 Circulation. 2018;137:e67–e492. DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000558 (accessed March 20, 2018)

3 Circulation. 2018;137:e67–e492. DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000558 (accessed March 20, 2018)

7 (accessed 09/24/18)

8 Bourcier, R., et al. (2018). "Multicenter initial experience with the EmboTrap device in acute anterior ischemic stroke." J Neuroradiol 45(4): 230-235.

9 Brouwer, P. A., et al. (2018). "Thrombectomy using the EmboTrap device: core laboratory-assessed results in 201 consecutive patients in a real-world setting." Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery 10(10): 964-968.

The information contained in this material is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice.

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