Efficient Protocol Allows Primary Stroke Centers To Ensure Access To Thrombectomies

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ryan A. McTaggart M.D. Assistant Professor of Diagnostic Imaging, Neurology, and Neurosurgery @mobilestroke4U Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University Rhode Island Hospital

Dr. Ryan  McTaggart

Ryan A. McTaggart M.D.
Assistant Professor of Diagnostic Imaging, Neurology, and Neurosurgery
@mobilestroke4U
Warren Alpert School of Medicine
Brown University
Rhode Island Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Stroke is the #1 cause of disability and 5th leading cause of death. Mechanical thrombectomy (direct mechanical removal of the obstructing blood clot) is a dramatically effective treatment for the most devastating of all acute ischemic strokes – emergency large vessel occlusion (ELVO).

Access to this treatment can be optimized with the use of

1) mobile stroke unit technology,

2) changing our Emergency medical services triage algorithms so that stroke matches that of trauma (using field severity to transport the right patient, to the right hospital, the first time, whenever possible), and

3) improving in-hospital processes at Primary Stroke Centers (PSCs) so that patients with suspected ELVO who present to a PSC (a hospital that does not offer mechanical thrombectomy) do not get left behind and untreated.

This study reflects an effort to address and improve the third item.

Continue reading

Carotid Artery Stenting vs Endarterectomy: Similar Efficacies, Different Safety Profiles

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jay S. Giri, MD, MPH
Director, Peripheral Intervention
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine
Penn Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We analyzed data from 6,526 patients in the 5 most recent randomized trials comparing carotid artery stenting to carotid endarterectomy.  These procedures are performed to prevent long-term stroke in patients with severe narrowings of their carotid arteries.  We learned that the procedures are equally effective in preventing stroke over the long-term.  However, the procedures have quite different safety profiles, defined as adverse events that the patients experienced within 30 days of their procedure.

Carotid artery stenting was associated with a higher risk of stroke in the initial 30 days after the procedure.  Carotid endarterectomy was associated with greater risks of myocardial infarction (heart attack) and cranial nerve palsy, a variable condition that most often results in difficulty with swallowing or speaking, over this timeframe.

Continue reading

Blood Pressure Variability May Trigger Stroke, Especially During Sleep

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Shyam Prabhakaran, MD, MS</strong> Department of Neurology Feinberg School of Medicine Northwestern University Chicago, IL

Dr. Prabhakaran

Shyam Prabhakaran, MD, MS
Department of Neurology
Feinberg School of Medicine
Northwestern University
Chicago, IL

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Wake-up stroke, or stroke onset during sleep, accounts for one-quarter of stroke presentations. Yet, there are few studies exploring mechanisms or triggers of onset during sleep. We explored whether blood pressure variability which is known to have circadian patterns could trigger wake-up stroke. We found that in the first 24 hours after stroke, those with wake-up stroke had greater blood pressure variability than non-wake up stroke patients.

Continue reading

Fewer Heart Attacks and Strokes After Trans-Fat Restriction Laws in New York

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Eric J. Brandt, MD Yale University Cardiovascular Disease Fellow

Dr. Eric Brandt

Eric J. Brandt, MD
Yale University
Cardiovascular Disease Fellow

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: From previous studies we know that industrial trans fatty acid (trans fat) consumption is linked to elevated risk for cardiovascular disease. Even small amounts of consumption can be deleterious to cardiovascular health. In New York state, there were 11 counties that restricted the use of trans fatty acids in eateries. We compared hospitalization for heart attacks and stroke from 2002 through 2013 in counties that did and did not have restrictions.

Our study found that when comparing populations within New York state that restricted the use of trans fat, compared to those that did not, there was an associated additional decline beyond temporal trends for heart attacks and stroke events combined by 6.2%.

Continue reading

Risk Factors and Stroke Rising Among Young Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mary G. George, MD, MSPH Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Georgia

Dr. George

Mary G. George, MD, MSPH
Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, Georgia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than 130,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 of every 20 deaths—and costs the nation $33 billion annually, including the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.

And, stroke is leading cause of serious disability. An ischemic stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, is a stroke that occurs when there is a blockage of the blood supply to the brain.

Continue reading

Why Do So Many Stroke Survivors Give Up On Preventive Medications?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anna De Simoni

NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in Primary Care Research
Centre for Primary Care and Public Health
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
London E1 2AB

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Three in 10 stroke survivors will go on to have a further stroke, which causes greater disability or even death. Secondary prevention medications, including antihypertensives, blood thinning and lipid lowering agents, such as statins, can reduce risk of stroke recurrence by up to 75 per cent. However, patients’ persistence with these medications decreases over time because a minority of people experience side effects, which are mild in most cases.

The analysis, involving Queen Mary University of London and the University of Cambridge and published in the journal Family Practice, was performed on the archives from TalkStroke, a UK online forum hosted by the Stroke Association. The forum is used by patients with stroke and their carers, and generated 21,596 posts during 2004-2011. 50 participants were found to discuss GP advice on prevention medications in 43 discussion threads.

Continue reading

Ischemic Stroke: Collateral Blood Vessels Detected by Arterial Spin Labeling MRI Correlates With Good Neurological Outcome

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jalal B. Andre M.D., D.A.B.R.®

Drector of neurological MRI and
MRI safety officer at Harborview Medical Center
University of Washington 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Acute ischemic stroke (AIS) patients with good collaterals have better clinical outcomes. AIS is characterized by an ischemic penumbra, a region of salvageable brain tissue, that surrounds a core of irreversible ischemic infarct. The penumbra is tenuously perfused by collateral blood vessels which, if extensive enough, can maintain penumbral perfusion, improving the odds that a larger volume of brain tissue will survive. Standard, first-line methods for evaluating collaterals in the acute setting include CT angiography, MR angiography, and (less commonly) digital subtraction angiography. Arterial spin labeling (ASL) is an emerging MRI technique that assesses cerebral perfusion. Its advantages include relatively short scan time (4-6 minutes), lack of ionizing radiation, and independence from an exogenous contrast agent (contraindicated in patients with impaired renal function or documented sensitivity). Collaterals can be identified within ASL images as foci of curvilinear hyperintensity bordering regions of hypoperfusion. We sought to explore a novel relationship between the presence of ASL collaterals (ASLc) and neurological outcome in acute ischemic stroke patients.

Continue reading

Cannabis Users Have Increased Risk of Stroke and Heart Failure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Aditi Kalla, MD Cardiology Research Fellow Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia

Dr. Aditi Kalla

Aditi Kalla, MD
Cardiology Research Fellow
Einstein Medical Center
Philadelphia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: As of the recent 2016 election, decriminalization of cannabis passed in several states bringing the total count up to 28 states and D.C. where cannabis is now legal for medicinal and/or recreational purposes. From a physician’s perspective, it is rare that a drug has “hit the market” so to speak without undergoing clinical trials to determine safety and efficacy. Hence, we sought out to study if cannabis had any effects (positive or negative) on the cardiovascular system.

Continue reading

Appropriate Anticoagulation Underutilized in Atrial fibrillation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Ying Xian
 MD PhD
Department of Neurology,
Duke Clinical Research Institute
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, North Carolina

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia. AF increases the risk for stroke and accounts for 10% to 15% of all ischemic strokes. While the burden of AF-related stroke is high, AF is a potentially treatable risk factor. Numerous studies have demonstrated that vitamin K antagonists, such as warfarin, or non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs), reduce the risk of ischemic stroke. Based on these data, current guidelines recommend adjusted-dose warfarin or NOACs over aspirin for stroke prevention in high-risk patients with Atrial fibrillation.

Continue reading

Natural History of Ruptured But Untreated Intracranial Aneurysms

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Miikka Korja
Chief Innovation Officer
Neurosurgeon
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
HUS, Helsinki University Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Helsinki University Hospital, one of the largest hospital organizations in industrialized countries, has a very long history in conducting studies on brain aneurysms and aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. The one and only study on the natural history of ruptured aneurysms has also been conducted in Helsinki 50 years ago (published in 1967). The term “natural history” refers to an approach where the cause of a patient’s disease is not treated at all. In this case, it means that ruptured aneurysms in patients with devastating brain hemorrhage, aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, were left untreated.

Therefore, these patients have a high risk of a rebleeding from the once ruptured aneurysm. As ruptured aneurysms are nowadays unexceptionally treated, if the patient survives the primary bleeding event, such natural history studies are impractical to conduct.

We wanted to update the 50 years old data by using a historical patient registry. Back in the old days, many of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage patients were not treated because for example surgery was considered too risky or patients were classified as too old for surgery. By using the historical data, we showed that aneurysmal SAH, if not treated, is even more devastating disease than believed. Based on our results, we can state that 75-89% of today’s patients die in a year without treatments.

Continue reading

Migraine Associated With Cervical Artery Dissection In Some Young Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alessandro Pezzini, MD, FESO

Professore Associato di Neurologia
Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche e Sperimentali
Clinica Neurologica
Università degli Studi di Brescia
Italia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Scarce reports have suggested that a relation might exist between migraine and cervical artery dissection (CEAD), the most frequent cause of ischemic stroke in young adults in Western countries. However, data available so far were obtained from few studies conducted on small cohorts of patients, which limits the generalizability of their findings.

In our study we analysed the data from the Italian Project on Stroke in Young Adults (IPSYS) project, one of the largest registries of young ischemic stroke patients, and observed that migraine, especially the subtype without aura was strongly and independently associated to CEAD. This seems particularly true for men and for people younger than 39 years.

Continue reading

Intensive Therapy Facilitates Language Recovery in Chronic Aphasia After Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Caterina Breitenstein, PhD
Department of General Neurology, University of Muenster, Germany
Annette Baumgärtner, PhD
Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Fresenius University of Applied Sciences, Hamburg, Germany

MedicalResearch.com : What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: For a long time, it has been assumed that language recovery is limited to the first months after the initial stroke. During the past two decades, however, several clinical studies and systematic reviews have challenged this dogma by demonstrating functional gains in stroke survivors during the chronic post-stroke stage (at least 6 months post the initial stroke) whenever speech and language therapy (SLT) intensity was sufficiently high (i.e., at least 5 h/week for several weeks). These studies, however, lacked the methodological quality required for evidence-based interventions (for criteria, please refer to http://www.cebm.net/ocebm-levels-of-evidence). Until now, this lack in evidence severely hampers stroke survivors’ access to language rehabilitation services .

The present multicenter randomized controlled healthcare trial FCET2EC (acronym stands for “From Controlled Experimental Trial to=2 Everyday Communication) is the first study worldwide to compare three weeks of intensive SLT provided under routine clinical conditions to an equally long period of no (or low intensity) SLT. After 3 weeks of intensive individualized therapy, the 156 stroke survivors with chronic aphasia verbally expressed themselves more effectively in daily-life communicative situations, like changing a doctor’s appointment by a telephone call. Additionally, patients and their significant other rated their communication-related quality of life as significantly improved.

Last but not least, therapy effects remained stable over a follow-up period of six months after the intensive intervention.

Continue reading