When someone suffers a stroke... every second counts.
Time is brain. Two million brain cells die every minute that blood flow is interrupted, leaving some patients severely impaired and disabled.
But new hope could soon be available thanks to this device that was developed right here in Chattanooga by a local student.
Christian Devlin, McCallie Student says "It was almost like an ah-ha moment to me why don't you just pump blood through that catheter past the clot in the brain."
That ah-ha moment from Christian Devlin, a junior at McCallie, could soon be saving lives in hospitals and stroke centers across the country.
Dr. Blaise Baxter says "Anything that allows that time for us to go up there and remove the clot, that's obviously impacting the patients outcome from the procedure"
Dr. Blaise Baxter, an Interventional Radiologist, worked with Christian and Dr. Tom Devlin, Christian's father ,to develop and perfect this design for the Brain Perfusion Device. They were recently awarded a patent and hope it will be on the fast track for testing on humans within the next two years.
Christian Devlin says "Basically what the idea I had was we go up into the brain with a catheter past the clot in the brain."
Christian Devlin says "We take blood out of one side of your leg and one artery in your leg and we can actually pump it through the other leg and back through a catheter system."
Christian says you can also use this system as a platform to pump clot busting drugs up to the brain and then eventually pull the clot out, all while still making sure blood flow continues and more brain cells don't die.
While this may seem quite advanced and amazing for a teenager, it's not too far fetched. Christian has been exposed to medicine his entire life, both parents are physicians at Erlanger. And when he's not with them, Christian likes to spend most of his time at the McCallie Science lab. He says this is where he is able to nurture and grow his passion for science.
Christian Devlin says "I think definitely the McCallie Science lab has definitely given me a very strong fascination and coming from a family of two doctors I've always had a strong interest in the stuff they do and I get to see a lot of cool stuff."
Dr. Tom Devlin says "I said to myself what a fantastic idea this is, why didn't I think of that myself."
He didn't, but his son did, and this NeuroSurgeon says this device could be a game changer for treating stroke patients.
Dr. Tom Devlin says "Blaise and I spend a lifetime taking care of stroke patients day and night, we know the significance this could be a big game changer in terms of the outcome of our patients."
And what could turn out to be one of the biggest developments in the treatment of stroke patients in years all goes back to the creative and out of the box thinking of a local high school student. .
Christian Devlin says "It's really kind of surreal."
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