For Immediate Release
Nicole Williams, 303-788-5944


One in Six Coloradoans At-Risk for Stroke in Their Lifetime

World Stroke Day & Swedish Medical Center Raise Awareness on New Treatments, Education

DENVER – In just our little mountainous corner of the world, nearly 620,000 Denver residents will experience a stroke in their lifetime. The staggering statistics: one in six – or more than 850,000 Colorado residents will experience the same.

In an effort to raise awareness of new treatments and prevention, Swedish Medical Center and The World Stroke Organization are spotlighting World Stroke Day Oct. 29.

Now, thanks to its focus on new research, Swedish has introduced the latest treatment for ischemic strokes, and is the only health care provider in the state with the capability to dramatically improve the outcome for ischemic stroke patients. Its use of the MAX System of Reperfusion Catheters treats ischemic stroke patients faster and more efficiently than ever before. Manufactured by Penumbra, Inc., the device is yet another tool for physicians in Swedish Medical Center’s arsenal of unmatched stroke care for residents of Denver and the surrounding region. Patients outside of Denver are airlifted to Swedish to take advantage of this life-saving new treatment.

Ischemic strokes are caused by a blood clot or embolism that stops blood flow to the brain.  About 85 percent of strokes are ischemic, occur every 40 seconds in the U.S. and is the fourth leading cause of death. The new MAX Catheters provide a better alternative to the standard guidewire used by physicians to navigate the arteries to the brain. The procedure can be used to open the blood vessels of an ischemic stroke patient within eight hours of symptom onset. Swedish Medical Center uses the MAX System in conjunction with intravenous clot-busting drug, t-PA or when those drugs can’t be used.

“The MAX System represents a significant advancement in stroke treatment, bringing urgent and needed relief to a large population of stroke patients,” said Swedish Medical Center’s Neurointerventional Radiologist Don Frei, M.D. “The ability to quickly and easily treat patients with a 4MAX catheter over a standard guidewire gives us more time to concentrate on treating the stroke. And we know that time is of the essence when treating strokes. This new device also allows us to remove the clot more efficiently. It has become the front line device for stroke patients at Swedish Medical Center.”

According to Dr. Frei, nearly 800,000 Americans will suffer a stroke this year, yet most people in the U.S. cannot identify stroke warning signs or risk factors. Dr. Frei reminds residents to remember the FAST test as a method of recognizing warning signs:

F – Face: Ask the person to smile, does one side of the face drooping down?

A – Arm: Can the person raise both arms?

S – Speech: Is speech slurred or confusing? Is the person able to speak?

T – Time: Time is critical. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

During a stroke, an estimated 30,000 brain cells die per second, so a patient’s outcomes and recovery are far better the quicker the patient is evaluated and treated.  People with a family history of stroke are more likely to have a stroke, and by 2030, it is estimated that 4 million people will have had a stroke. This is nearly 25 percent higher than 2010 estimates.

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About Swedish Medical Center

Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado serves as the Rocky Mountain Region’s referral center for neurotrauma and advanced stroke care. Swedish provides the most advanced care for adult and pediatric trauma as a Level I Trauma Center and specializes in oncology services as a Commission on Cancer-approved program. Swedish offers eight distinct centers of excellence: Cancer Care Center, Emergency Services, The Heart Center, Neurosciences, including the Stroke Center, Orthopedic Services, Spine Program, Trauma Center and Women and Children’s Services. An acute care hospital with 368 licensed beds, Swedish Medical Center has been a proud member of the community for more than 100 years and also operates the Swedish Southwest ER, a full-service, free-standing ER in Jefferson County since 2005. Annually Swedish cares for more than 200,000 patients with a team of 2,000 dedicated employees, 300 volunteers and more than 1300 physicians. Swedish is proud to have been repeatedly awarded the Consumer Choice Award from an independent survey of the Denver community and to be the first and only hospital in Colorado to be certified four times by the Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center.


About the Penumbra System and Penumbra System MAX

The Penumbra System continuous aspiration thrombectomy devices are used by neuro-interventional specialists to gently remove clots from the large vessels of the brain that are causing an acute stroke. The 4MAX and 3MAX Reperfusion Catheters represent the easiest-to-use thrombectomy procedure by enabling single-operator, over-the-wire access without the need for a large proximal balloon guide, while maintaining the established safety and superior outcomes of the market-leading Penumbra System.