EVANSVILLE, In. (WEHT) – The Stroke Awareness Foundation says strokes kill 140,000 Americans each year.

Now, an Evansville hospital has gained a new tool that doctors say will be a game changer in treating certain stroke victims.

“This is sort of that missing piece, so we can actually provide that full care to those patients, and offer this additional technology,” says Dr. Heidi Dunniway, Chief Medical Officer of Ascension St. Vincent.

With the new thrombectomy suite at the Ascension St. Vincent Evansville Center for Advanced Medicine, doctors say they will be able to treat patients quicker and more efficiently – thanks to a cutting edge piece of technology.

“The equipment that you see today in this room is state of the art – it is the top of the line of what’s available for thrombectomy – in removing clots from victims who have strokes – and so that is where a lot of this excitement comes from – there is nothing else in the region at this level of technology,” says Dr. Dunniway.

The superior imaging and diagnostic capabilities of the new machine allow doctors to rapidly locate a blood clot in the brain and remove it; increasing chances of survival and improving outcomes.

“With the ability to remove that blood clot that’s causing damage, you can limit the amount of damage that occurs to the brain from that stroke, and get them to rehab and hopefully have them recover, return home – and regain some independence,” says Dr. Allison Weaver, Medical Director of the Stroke Program at Ascension St. Vincent Evansville.

Doctors say the unit is also a partnership, meaning that other area hospitals can send patients to Ascension St. Vincent for this top of the line care.

“If they have a patient that comes in with these stroke symptoms, they can refer them to us quickly. We have a helicopter service that can pick them up if need be, versus an ambulance ground transfer; depending on which would get them to us the fastest,” says Weaver.