Saint John radiologist has helped revolutionize acute stroke management in N.B.

September 18, 2019 | Author: Royal College Staff

Brian Archer, MD, FRCPC, is this year’s recipient of the Prix d’excellence – Specialist of the Year award for Region 5

With a dedicated team of colleagues, Dr. Brian Archer has introduced endovascular stroke treatment for New Brunswick patients. In doing so, he has demonstrated what is possible for other small health care centres across Canada.

In the vast majority of stroke cases, if patients seek treatment early enough, a clot-dissolving agent can save lives and give much higher quality of life. But with large clots, a dissolving agent alone does not yield good outcomes. For the past 10 years in New Brunswick, these patients have been referred to Dr. Brian Archer and his team at Saint John Regional Hospital (SJRH) for clot removal — the first non-university hospital in Canada to offer the procedure.

“By being one of the first [Atlantic] Canadian doctors to offer clot retrieval, Dr. Archer has had an enormous effect on the health outcomes of countless New Brunswickers,” says fellow SJRH radiologist John Swan, MD, FRCPC.

Because the treatment is time-critical, Dr. Archer says it was imperative that this expertise was developed and offered in New Brunswick.

“There is no time to fly patients out to a university hospital,” he explains.

Dr. Brian Archer, FRCPC

Dr. Brian Archer, FRCPC

For many of Dr. Archer’s patients, the results have been nothing short of amazing. He recalls a stroke victim who woke up in ICU after a successful clot-removal procedure and basically walked right back into his daily life.

“Because of his quick recovery, I think he and his family probably feel that he really wasn’t that sick at all.”

Jordan Kavanagh, MD, FRCPC, another radiologist at SJRH, says Dr. Archer is often called in for the most difficult cases. He gives the example of a 12-year-old girl with paralysis on one side of her body. Although the clot-removal procedure is rarely done in pediatric patients, after careful consultation with family and colleagues, it was decided that Dr. Archer and his colleague, John Whelan, MD, FRCPC, would take it on.

“The procedure was a complete success,” says Dr. Kavanagh.

Dr. Archer is well-known for innovating procedures for patients with challenging conditions.

“As an example, he [and colleague Darren Ferguson, MD, FRCPC, were] able to embolize a crossbow injury to the liver by using the embedded projectile as a vascular access sheath,” recalls Dr. Swan. “To most of us, that would be the case of a lifetime. To Dr. Archer, that is a normal Tuesday evening.”

Dr. Archer preparing for an endovascular stroke treatment.

Dr. Archer preparing for an endovascular stroke treatment.

While colleagues call him a role model and the kind of physician other physicians turn to for advice and assistance in difficult times, he downplays this praise.

“Really, none of us want awards,” says Dr. Archer, who characterizes himself as average and attributes his professional success to good teamwork and an element of luck. “I have had grateful patients give me a hug and that is more than enough.”


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Richard Shipley | March 16, 2020
He is most deserving. The procedure that I had, couldn't have gone better,. My Thanks.
Carol Moore | March 12, 2020
Congratulations Dr. Archer - you are certainly an amazing Doctor and you can tell you love what you do. Thank you so much for helping so many people that have strokes!!! My sister is one of those and I wish you were around back in 1997 to help her. Again many thanks for what you do!!!! Take are
Debbie Rutherford | March 11, 2020
That's great about the clot removal, time is very important. I had a severe stroke at 39 years old however my stroke was very rare, a hemorrhagic stroke, I was born with a weak artery in my neck and it split causing a stroke, an almost deadly stroke! Left me with not being able to speak, walk, and my whole right side was pretty much "useless", however with a lot of hard work and determination, I've got my speech back and was only in a wheelchair for a month and I'm still walking, with a cane of course, but I've come a long ways back. I've done a lot of research on strokes and decided to get Stem Cell Treatment where they take my own Stem Cells out of my back, and inject them back into me through IV, but my issue with that is it's located in Vancouver (2 plane tickets for my b/f and I), Hotel Bill, and the cost of the Stem Cell Treatment is $7,000 per treatment which Medicare doesn't cover, which I find kind of pricey seeing that I only get paid once a month. I have a personal friend who I've known for years and used to work/still works at the hospital and had Stage 4 cancer, and He was given Stem Cell Treatment right here and his cancer is gone, but the hospital only does it for people who have cancer, but why not stroke victims? It would be so much easier for me personally to get it here rather than Vancouver, and with this Coronavirus attack, it makes me even more nervous to travel! What is you opinion? Debbie
cynthia devos | March 11, 2020
I hope Dr. Archer and his crew are available to help if I need them! Keep up the great work!
LEO MCIVOR | March 11, 2020