Strokes are the third largest killer in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. When a blood vessel in the brain clogs or ruptures, normal blood flow in the brain can be cut off. Survivors are often left with cripppling aftereffects, including paralysis, speech problems, and memory loss.
Strokes are often treated with a surgical procedure in which a metal clip is applied to the aneurysm (a weak, bulging spot in the vessel wall) to cut off blood flow to the damaged area. However, the surgery is risky and traumatic to the patient’s system. A less invasive alternative is endovascular surgery. In this procedure, surgeons access the brain through the femoral artery in the groin, then pack the aneurysm with metal microcoils (tiny, looping wire coils) that prevent it from rupturing.
Micrus Endovascular develops, manufactures and markets platinum microcoils and other devices used in the treatment of cerebral vascular diseases. The San Jose, Calif.-based company has an extensive pipeline of products to treat two types of strokes: hemorraghic stroke, in which a blood vessel ruptures, causing blood to leak into the brain; and ischemic stroke, in which a clot obstructs blood flow to the brain. The company manufactures stents, catheters and guidewires in addition to microcoils. Micrus Endovascular is the only publicly traded company focused on strokes.
We caught up with Bob Stern, President and CEO of Micrus Endovascular, at this year’s OneMedForum: