Artificial Intelligence aids quick stroke diagnosis for active retiree

After decades working in senior management positions for General Motors Safety Lab, Albert Ware, of West Bloomfield, wasted no time after his retirement in April, 2020. He soon got busy spending quality time traveling and living life to the fullest with his wife of 41 years.

“We do a minimum of three cruises per year and have enjoyed living life to the max,” notes Albert, who admitted the cruises and their adventures led to too many unhealthy choices when it came to food and drinks.

Waking up with a stroke on Labor Day

Albert Ware stroke patient cruise

In 2023, the Labor Day holiday weekend started off great for Albert and his family. “I went on a 9-mile bike ride with my son, then went out to dinner on several occasions while also enjoying the Detroit Jazz Festival where we ate some fried foods from a food truck followed by a nightcap that evening,” Albert recalls. On Labor Day morning, the holiday weekend fun came to an abrupt stop. As he was getting up from bed to prepare for a barbecue, he was talking briefly but after a few minutes his right arm was feeling numb. Albert says initially he was not thinking he had a stroke and thought the numbness may have been associated with sleeping on his arm. Albert’s wife, Wendy, a retired respiratory therapist, immediately recognized Albert was experiencing signs of a stroke, including drooping on the right side of his face along with numbness on the right side of his arm and leg. She called EMS, who promptly arrived at their home and took him to Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. Albert remembers being able to hear people talk to him but he could not respond. “I felt like I was in a fishbowl.”

Rapid stroke response including AI technology

Despite the serious condition, Albert vividly remembers the quick action he received when he arrived at the hospital. “Their stroke protocol was absolutely phenomenal,” says Albert. “Within one hour, I was given medication to dissolve the clot and had a procedure that removes the clot from the blood vessel. While I was in the procedure room as staff were asking me questions, suddenly I bounced back like a rubber band. It was as if nothing had ever happened.”

Albert Ware stroke patient

Part of the stroke treatment Albert received included a specialized CT scan, with the results made available to physicians almost instantly, thanks to the use of RapidAI™ – new artificial intelligence software that processes images and detects brain artery blockages as well as the severity of the damage. Aaron Lewandowski, MD, an emergency room physician at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital who was part of the stroke team that treated Albert, explains. “When it comes to stroke care, ‘time is brain,’ and the use of technology like RapidAI allows us to provide more efficient and effective care, especially in the most time-sensitive hours of a stroke. It also allows all members of the team to coordinate care in real time to minimize the effects of a stroke.”

Alex Chebl, MD, is a vascular neurologist who treated Albert with a thrombectomy procedure to open up blocked arteries and restore blood flow to the brain. RapidAI™ can be a game changer to prevent long term effects of a stroke, he notes. “With stroke, every second counts and now thanks to the use of AI software, the stroke team at Henry Ford can, within a few minutes instead of 45-60 minutes, review all of the brain scans and make treatment decisions very quickly. What’s more, the software sends out notifications to team members, alerting them that there is a blockage on a scan. It’s like an early warning system that gets the team ready to act at a moment’s notice.”

Luckily for Albert, the stoke was recognized quickly, paving the way for Dr. Chebl and the team to completely remove the blood clot from his brain using the latest medical technology. “Many patients come to the hospital too late, and despite everything that we do, are left with significant brain injury and severe disability,” he says.

After removal of the clot, the next step was to understand why the stroke occurred. This requires a multidisciplinary team approach. Albert was diagnosed with a hole between two chambers in his heart that allowed the clot to travel to his brain. In conjunction with the stroke neurology team, the hole was treated with a minimally invasive procedure by Henry Ford cardiologists to greatly minimize his future risk of stroke.

Moderation and recalibration

Albert feels extremely fortunate that despite having a stroke, his recovery was exceptional. He now has a new motto of “moderation andAlbert Ware stroke patient recalibration”. “I’ve dropped more than 15 pounds by making wiser food choices including incorporating more vegetables and heart healthy food while reducing fried foods in my diet,” he says.

He is also very thankful to the Henry Ford staff that made it possible for him to continue his new journey with healthier options while allowing him to continue his love of travel during his retirement.

“Everyone at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital and Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit where I underwent the procedure to repair a hole in my heart, from the nurses, doctors and others I interfaced with were absolutely outstanding,” explains Albert. “They were professional, kind and did everything to make sure I was o.k. Between the care and the great technology like MyChart which was invaluable to me to review tests and evaluations, my faith and appreciation of Henry Ford Health has gone up 10-fold since this experience.”

Learn more about stroke treatment, recovery and prevention.

Are You At Risk For Stroke?
Learn about stroke screening and diagnosis.

Cookie Consent

We use cookies to improve your web experience. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. Read our Internet Privacy Statement to learn what information we collect and how we use it.

Accept All Cookies