St. David's Medical Center is using new technology to treat stroke victims more effectively.

The new advanced brain imaging software, called RAPID, allows doctors to see a blockage in blood flow, including which areas of the brain have been most damaged, and determine the areas where brain tissue can be restored. This provides extra time for doctors to save the affected tissue.

Previously, medical experts believed treatment should be administered within six hours of the onset of stroke symptoms. However, recent studies using the new brain imaging technology have found that doctors may have up to 24 hours to effectively treat stroke patients (optimally six to 16 hours).

"Once we can see where the blockage is within the brain and how severe it is, we know whether or not we can save the brain," Dr. James Waldron, a neurosurgeon and medical director for endovascular neurosurgery at St. David's Medical Center, said. "This can also determine whether a patient is eligible for a mechanical thrombectomy."

A mechanical thrombectomy is an emergency procedure that allows doctors to reopen the area of the brain that was blocked or receiving limited blood supply. Because not all patients are candidates for mechanical thrombectomy, it's important to recognize the signs of a stroke—and to get to a hospital with a stroke center as soon as possible if symptoms occur.