Life after stroke
In 2000, Ed experienced a haemorrhagic stroke caused by bleeding into the brain from arteriovenous malformations, which are masses of abnormal blood vessels. The condition had been treated, and he was recovering well—until one morning in January 2003, when a blood clot traveled from his heart to his brain, causing an ischemic stroke and severe weakness on his left side. Ed found it difficult to get dressed and knew he needed help immediately.
After a month in the hospital, Ed was transferred to a rehabilitation facility where he had intensive physical and occupational therapy before returning home.
The spasticity remained and it was extremely painful. It was like having a constant charley horse. I was able to walk, but the spasticity affected my gait.*- Ed
Getting the pump
Ed had been given injection therapy for severe spasticity in his upper arm, but the effect would diminish in 3 or 4 months. When Ed’s doctor suggested ITB Therapy, Ed was interested. Ed had the screening test to see if the liquid baclofen would relieve his symptoms.
“During the screening test, my left foot made full contact with the floor for the first time since the stroke.” “Because I had more foot surface on the floor, I could put more weight on my leg and I was sturdier. The change in my gait–for the better–was noticeable.”*
Ed had the pump placed in December 2004.
Ed’s spasticity has been significantly reduced. He feels steadier on his feet. He is confident about spending time unsupervised while Andrea, his wife and the family caregiver, works. Ed didn’t experience any complications with his surgery. However, some people do experience surgical complications, side effects of the drug, or both. There are risks associated with treatment with a baclofen pump. Please refer to the section side effects and risks.
“Ed has more energy and his movements are freer with the pump,” says Andrea. “I feel better going to work knowing he’s comfortable staying home alone.”*
Ed adds that physical therapy has been more effective since he started the ITB Therapy.
Because it’s reduced my spasticity, I stretch better and am developing more range of motion. I look forward to getting more ability as time goes by.*
One morning in 2004, Patsy woke up to a terrible headache. A professional in the public relations field, she was on vacation that day. Later in the afternoon, she got up from the couch and collapsed on the floor. When she realised she couldn’t control her left arm or leg, a friend called the emergency service.
Patsy ended up at a stroke center where it was determined that she had a massive stroke due to a blood clot. Surgery to remove the clot resulted in the removal of one-third of the right frontal lobe of her brain. Blood tests revealed a blood clotting disorder.
The therapy was good in a practical way, but I was stuck in the hospital and I went into a depression.” “I couldn’t understand how this was God’s will for me.*- Patsy
Life after stroke
After her stroke, Patsy, had nine weeks of inpatient rehabilitation therapy, including physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.
“The therapy was good in a practical way, but I was stuck in the hospital and I went into a depression.” “I couldn’t understand how this was God’s will for me.”*
Six months of outpatient physical therapy followed. Patsy’s brother moved in with her so she could stay in her home.
“I had horrible clonus – shaking and tremors – in my left foot, and my left arm curled up across my chest,”*
Botox injections provided only temporary relief, and oral baclofen left her feeling extremely fatigued.
“I didn’t want to get out of the chair or do anything, it was so painful that I could hardly walk.”*
As Patsy’s ability to walk deteriorated, it threatened her ability to return to living alone. After a particularly bad fall, her physical therapist recommended ITB Therapy to Patsy and her physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor. Patsy shared the information with her nine siblings – her support network – who she refers to as “the committee.” Everyone agreed that she should try it.
Getting the pump
Patsy had a one-day screening test to see if long-term therapy with ITB Therapy would be effective.
“It was immediate, my left arm dropped down to my waist, and when I walked, I took a normal heel-to-toe stride. That gave me so much hope!”*
Six weeks later, Patsy had the pump placed.
“Afterward, I could walk and it didn’t hurt, and I didn’t have any clonus. It was like something out of dream.”*
A few months later, Patsy noticed clonus returning.
“I couldn’t move my leg – it was like lead – and my arm was curling again. I felt horrible itching.”*
At the hospital, her doctor discovered that the catheter had malfunctioned, sending Patsy into baclofen withdrawal. The catheter was replaced and Patsy’s symptoms went away. While this was Patsy’s only complication, some people do experience surgical complications, side effects of the drug, or both. There are risks associated with treatment with a baclofen pump. Please refer to the section side effects and risks. Six years later, Patsy had her pump replaced (the average life of a pump is seven years). Every three months, she goes to the doctor to have the pump refilled with baclofen.
An independent life
Today, Patsy lives independently and works as a volunteer at a bookstore for children in need that she helped establish. She continues to write press releases and grants.
“Because of ITB Therapy, I can get up, put my socks on, walk to get my mail, volunteer, and live on my own.” “This has changed my life for the positive so much. ITB Therapy allows me to get up, dress up, show up, and never give up!”*
Because of ITB Therapy, I can get up, put my socks on, walk to get my mail, volunteer, and live on my own. This has changed my life for the positive so much. ITB Therapy allows me to get up, dress up, show up, and never give up!*- Patsy
*Every patient experience is unique. Not everyone who receives Medtronic Intrathecal Drug Delivery therapy will experience the same results.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. It does not contain nor replace any medical diagnosis. For medical diagnosis, you should always contact your healthcare professional.
Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information. Bear in mind that all products/therapies/procedures carry risks. This product/therapy/procedure is not right for everyone. Contact your doctor to see if its right for you.
Results may vary from patient to patient.
Information contained herein does not replace the recommendations of your healthcare professional. See the device manual for detailed information regarding the instructions for use, indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and potential adverse events. For further information, contact your Health Care Professional.