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UHealth experts help restore stroke patient's speech, mobility

Isabel Vinueza, 26, left partially paralyzed, unable to speak after Aug. 6 stroke

A team of stroke experts from the University of Miami Health System helped restore a 26-year-old stroke patient's speech and mobility.
A team of stroke experts from the University of Miami Health System helped restore a 26-year-old stroke patient's speech and mobility.


MIAMI – A team of stroke experts from the University of Miami Health System helped restore a 26-year-old stroke patient's speech and mobility.

Isabel Vinueza was unable to speak and half of her body was paralyzed after she suffered a stroke Aug. 6.

"My right hand was paralyzed and my right leg was paralyzed. It was the weirdest feeling," said Vinueza. "I knew something was wrong. I needed help quickly."

Vineuza's boyfriend noticed her face was drooping and said she couldn't speak clearly, so he called 911.

Doctors said Vineuza suffered an acute ischemic stroke, which occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery that carries blood to the brain.

Vineuza has since undergone a minimally invasive surgical procedure in a clinical trial led by Dr. Dileep R. Yavagal, an interventional neurologist.

Experts said a stent retrieval device called the Solitaire is used in the procedure to clear blockages in arteries supplying blood to the brain.

"The trials clearly showed us that retrievable stents significantly improve the chances of a patient making a full recovery, versus just administering IV tPA (the only FDA-approved drug to treat acute ischemic stroke)," said Dr. Yavagal. "In Isabel's case, without Solitaire she would have been left with permanent paralysis and speech deficits, likely needing lifetime assistance."

Experts said strokes are most common in people over the age of 65 and is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States.

"I feel fortunate that I came out of this fine – that's unheard of," Vinueza said. "This team saved my life. They knew exactly what they were doing. I know how lucky I am."

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