Back in February this year, 31-year-old Kirsty Mills, an interior designer from Blackheath, collapsed while in the shower.
Her partner, Sandy Batchelor, found her after hearing the thud when she fell and called an ambulance.
Kirsty had paralysis to her left side, slurred speech and a drooping lip. She was rushed to King’s College Hospital where they performed a head scan straightaway. They discovered a blood clot in a large artery in her brain and she was diagnosed with a stroke, affecting a considerable part of her brain.
Kirsty received an emergency thrombectomy immediately. A thrombectomy involves inserting a catheter into a major blood vessel in the groin, which reaches up to the brain to remove the blood clot.
Once the clot was removed Kirsty felt normal immediately, and regained the movement in the left side of her body.
Kirsty said: “At first it felt like I was drunk, and then like I was having an out of body experience – I could hear everyone talking but it didn’t feel real. When the clot came free I felt better straight away physically, although I was a little bit tired and dizzy.
“I feel so lucky to have been treated by Dr Booth and his team at King’s. They acted so quickly to save my life, I really can’t thank them enough.”
Dr Thomas Booth, Consultant Interventional and Diagnostic Neuroradiologist at King’s, said: “Before this procedure, patients who suffered from this type of stroke would have undoubtedly been paralysed, or sometimes may have even died. Occasionally thrombectomy can result in the ‘Lazarus effect’ - if the clot is removed quickly enough all the symptoms of the stroke disappear immediately.
“I’m delighted that Kirsty has made such a good recovery – she is living proof of the effectiveness of this treatment.
“Recent evidence has shown that a thrombectomy performed within six hours of onset is much more likely to be beneficial than using clot busting drugs alone when large arteries are blocked. We urge our fellow healthcare professionals to be aware of this so patients can be brought to a centre such as ours as quickly as possible.”
King’s is one of eight specialist stroke centres across London.
Patients who come into King’s via the Emergency Department are assessed by the on-call Stroke Team, who ensure patients have a head scan and diagnosis within 30 minutes of arrival.
Once stroke is confirmed, patients are transferred to our Hyper Acute Stroke Unit for immediate treatment.