Wednesday, August 18, 2010 2:36 PM

Community Regional provides unique treatment for stroke patients

Retired Fresno County Sheriff’s Deputy Cecil Mc Reynolds says he wakes up every day grateful for Community Regional Medical Center and the interventional neurologist who removed a clot from his brain and put him on the road to recovery after a second stroke. “I thank God every day for that Dr. Maidan and what he did at that hospital,” says McReynolds, 66.

“Community Regional has the only accredited primary stoke center certified by Joint Commission in Fresno and we’re the only one’s doing the mechanical thrombectomy, or clot removal,” said Dr. Lucian Maidan. “The Penumbra system we use is like a little vacuum that you insert through a microcatheter to suck out the clot.”

Having an interventional neurologist skilled in using the clot removal technology gives new options to stroke patients who don’t qualify for the clot-busting drug t-PA, also known as tissue plasminogen activator. Although t-PA is the first choice for stroke treatment, that medicine must be injected within the first three hours after a stroke occurs to be effective and if the clot burden is too heavy it might not open the blood vessel. Also t-PA can’t be used on patients with too high blood pressure, those taking blood thinners, anyone who’s had recent surgery or those with a seizure at the onset of the stroke, brain bleeding or internal bleeding, explained Dr. Maidan.

Five years ago when he had his first stroke, McReynolds was treated at another hospital with the clot-busting tPA and it wasn’t as effective for him.  His son Keith McReynolds described the difference: “My father’s first stroke knocked his energy level down about 85 percent and it took him a good year and half to get his energy back. This time his mental faculties are a lot better, his energy level is good and I’d say he’s back at 98% to what he was prior to that first stroke. I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Maidan.”

McReynolds’ wife Linda agreed, “Seems to me he bounced back from this much sooner than he did from that clot-busting drug. This time I was the one taking more naps than him…We’re so fortunate that we went to Community Regional where you have that neurologist. He was so informative and caring.”

McReynolds said he's happy the ambulance drivers decided to take him to Community Regional because of the hospital's expertise in caring for stroke patients, with doctors skilled in the less invasive t-PA clot busting treatment, as well as options to go directly into the brain and mechanically remove clots. Community Regional's ninth floor is dedicated to healing patients with neurological disease and injuries, with nurses and therapists specially trained in caring for those with strokes.

McReynolds, a grandfather of four, says he’s happy to be back to his old self. “Now I can chase my wife around the house again,” he quips.

This story was reported by Erin Kennedy. She can be reached at