A Michigan woman thanks doctors after full recovery from severe stroke

Author: Sherry Farney

On April 5, 2021, Christine Heine, 69, of Clio was feeling funny and knew something just wasn’t quite right.

“I had just gotten back from my neighbor’s house, and I was sitting in my garage,” said Christine. “I was on the phone and my arms started feeling funny and I kept dropping the phone. The person who I was on the phone with notified a loved one of mine that I was slurring my words and just didn’t sound right, so they called an ambulance.”

When the ambulance got to Christine, they told her they were taking her to the nearest hospital emergency room as she was displaying all the signs of having had a stroke.

Once Christine arrived at McLaren Flint’s emergency room, she learned she had a National Institute of Health Stroke Scale score of 24, which meant she had a very severe stroke.  The stroke scale is used by clinicians as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms and is applied at regular intervals for continued patient assessment.

According to doctors, Christine had sudden onset of altered mental status, trouble speaking, left gaze, left facial droop, and difficulty moving the right side of her body.


“I thought maybe the stroke was associated with heart surgery I had just had,” said Christine. “But come to find out, I actually had a blood disorder that caused the clot that led to the stroke.”

Aniel Majjhoo, MD, fellowship trained interventional neurologist, and medical director of the McLaren Stroke Network, performed a successful mechanical thrombectomy of the left middle cerebral artery in Christine’s brain.

“A mechanical thrombectomy is a procedure that involves the removal of a blood clot blocking one of the arteries leading to a section of the brain,” said Dr. Majjhoo. “This is done in a cath lab, using devices that are threaded up to the brain through a catheter placed in the patient’s groin. Most often we see improvement in the patient’s condition as soon as the clot is removed, which is very rewarding.” 

Christine remembers not being able to speak when she first came in, but as soon as the clot was removed, she quickly started speaking normally again. She now has no deficits and is doing very well while being monitored on blood thinners.

“I’m so thankful for the McLaren Flint doctors,” said Christine. “They saved my life. I’ve had aftercare and a clear bill of health. I’ve been getting my exercise through cardiac rehabilitation and taking walks. Other than that, I’ve really just been taking life easy. Everything feels back to normal. I’m back to my regular life.”