“I was not expecting that at all”

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50 years ago, Lawrence “Monk” Terry, now 76 and a resident of Coral Gables, won a silver medal with the USA rowing team at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. . He served as a “hit” to his crew. This is the rowing term for the most important position, the one that sets the pace for the rest of the rowers.

Considered a star on the Harvard rowing team before competing in his first Olympics (the 1968 Games in Mexico City), Mr. Terry kept himself in shape by golfing, swimming, canoeing and pursuing his passion for rowing in masters rowing events, where participants are in their 60s, 70s and 80s.

To say his life was going well would be an understatement – ​​until an otherwise normal day – April 6e — when the term “stroke” would take on a new meaning for Mr. Terry. He remembers cleaning mold off a wall in front of his house, then having lunch and retiring to his office to take care of some paperwork.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9l-l2OLqlQ

(Watch the video: Hear stroke patient Lawrence “Monk” Terry and Robert Wicks, MD, co-director of cerebrovascular surgery and director of the Neurosurgical Anatomy Laboratory at the Miami Neuroscience Institute. Video by Dylan Kyle. )

“I don’t remember exactly what I was doing…I bent down to pick up a pencil or something I had dropped,” he said. “I remember being on the floor stretching my back but also thinking it wasn’t quite right. I realized my left side wasn’t as strong than my right. Although I could still move my left arm and I still had strength, but not enough to stand up. And I thought – that’s very strange.

Fortunately, his wife, Kitty, heard something and walked into the office, finding Mr. Terry showing telltale signs of a stroke.

“I have a bad back, I told him,” recalls Mr. Terry. “She said, ‘I don’t think you’re right.’ And I said, ‘No, I’m fine.’ At that time, I couldn’t feel my left side anymore and I couldn’t speak properly. She said, “I’ll call 911.” And I said, “I’ll be fine” – which is a typical male response, of course. And, of course, I found out later that she had already called them.

Paramedics use innovative telestroke service

The BEST (Baptist Emergency Stroke Team): from left to right: Adrian Morales, trauma nurse in the emergency department; Dr. Robert Wicks, neurosurgeon; Jessica Charles, BESTRN; Dr. Felipe De Los Rios, Stroke Program Director.

Mr. Terry’s trip to Baptist Hospital’s Comprehensive Stroke Center at the Miami Neuroscience Institute would be quick and complete, using the state-of-the-art “tele-attack” service inside the Coral Gables Fire vehicle. -Rescue. The innovative telemedicine program allows paramedics to consult directly with neurologists, trauma surgeons or other medical professionals via a secure video system.

By the time he arrived at Baptist Hospital, the stroke team was mobilized and ready to treat him.

Felipe De Los Rios, MD, director of the stroke program at the Miami Neuroscience Institute, was the one who assessed Mr. Terry’s condition via telestroke technology. Robert Wicks, MD, Co-Director of Cerebrovascular Surgery and Director of the Institute’s Neurosurgical Anatomy Laboratory, led the team treating Mr. Terry.

Rapid treatment included Clot-Buster, Thrombectomy

Dr Wicks explains that Mr Terry was lucky to be transported to hospital in a crucial time which allowed the stroke team to administer a clot-busting solution used to treat ischemic strokes – the most common type.

“He was able to get to the hospital fairly quickly after the onset of symptoms – and he got there within four hours and they were able to give him a clot-busting drug called Tenecteplase,” Dr Wicks said. “It was very helpful in starting to break up the blood clot that was identified in his brain.”

Mr Terry says his memory of being treated was hazy, but he remembers being comfortable.

“I remember feeling totally at ease,” he says. “I had no anxiety or fear at all. I can’t remember how many people were doing what…but I felt very comfortable and very assured that they were doing, you know, good things.

The next step in Mr. Terry’s evaluation was to perform a CT angiogram, Dr. Wicks said. He revealed that he had a complete blockage of the right middle cerebral artery. “It’s the main artery that supplies the right side of the brain and is probably the cause of his profound left-sided weakness,” Dr. Wicks said.

Mr. Terry successfully underwent a thrombectomy, a minimally invasive surgery to remove blood clots in stroke patients.

Dr. Wicks explains: “In Mr. Terry’s case, we were able to advance catheters into the carotid artery and then we were able to access the right middle cerebral artery where his blockage had occurred. We were able to aspirate and remove most of the clot. And then her ability to have this drug Tenecteplase also helped open up the little blockages, or the little bits of clot, that couldn’t be removed.

Surprise diagnosis: atrial fibrillation

Dr Wicks adds that the former Olympic rower has made an “exceptional” recovery. “He is now at home undergoing physical therapy, but is now back to almost full strength.”

Following the stroke, Mr. Terry will discover that he suffers from atrial fibrillation, more commonly known as atrial fibrillation. It is an irregular heartbeat in which the heart muscles do not contract strongly and rhythmically. When a heart is in atrial fibrillation, it may not be pumping enough oxygen-rich blood to the body. The most serious risk factor for people with atrial fibrillation is stroke.

“Whenever someone is diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, our biggest concern is the risk of stroke,” says Mario Pascual, MD, medical director of electrophysiology and arrhythmia management at Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute. When the heart is in atrial fibrillation, the blood can become “static and stay concentrated inside the heart,” says Dr. Pascual. This creates an ideal setting for a blood clot to form.

“When blood pools, a clot can form,” adds Dr. Pascual. “When a clot is pumped out of the heart, it can lodge in the arteries, which can cause a stroke. Blocked arteries prevent the tissue on the other side from getting oxygen-rich blood, and without oxygen, the tissue dies.

Mr Terry said he didn’t know he had atrial fibrillation, despite his very active lifestyle and physical fitness. “Later the cardiologist confirmed that I probably had it for a while, but that’s because I’m in pretty good shape. My heart rate is at a low level. My resting pulse for many, many years was 48 to 52 (beats per minute).

In October, Mr. Terry plans his 50th turn at the Charles Regatta, an annual rowing head race held on the Charles River, which separates Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is the largest two-day regatta in the world.

“The stroke was a surprise because I was healthy,” Terry said. “I exercised a lot and played golf, which is always walking the nine holes…and also outrigger paddling, which is an hour and a half to two hours, once a week. I slept well and ate well. So, I didn’t expect it at all. »

Tags: Miami Neuroscience Institute, stroke, stroke prevention, stroke symptoms

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