New technology saves two-time stroke survivor

A Twin Cities teacher is a two-time stroke survivor. He had a couple of massive strokes a few years ago, while training for an Ironman competition.

The more time that passes, the more his health improves.

Viet Le teaches geometry at his new job at St. Thomas Academy.

Not many of his students realize the work it took for him to get back to the classroom after suffering two strokes within nine months.

“I never knew if I would walk again, or run again,” said Le. “It took a lot of therapists to get through all that. A lot of hard work.”

At just 45 years old, Le was working out at the gym when he suffered both strokes, which doctors believe were rooted from a tear in the wall of an artery in his neck.

From there a blood clot formed and moved into his brain.

“He was very, very lucky again we got to him in time and again we are very thankful  that we have devices available to retrieve those clots out of the brain very, very quickly,” said Dr. Josser Delgado, who works at Abbott Northwestern.

Delgado says Le was one of the first couple dozen stroke patients to successfully receive a combination of blood thinning medication and a Medtronic device, allowing doctors to go in and use a very small stint attached to a wire to carefully pull the clot out.

As we often see with medical practice, the technology comes before the clinical trials.

“Back then, we were treating patients we thought it could help, but we didn't have the evidence behind it,” said Delgado.

In the years since Viet and other stroke patients have helped prove the technology successful.

For that, he is forever grateful.

“I have to adjust every single day, I have to rehab my body,” said Le. “I'm always chasing my dreams. Hopefully, one day I'll run and swim again.”