Does Head Positioning Matter In Acute Stroke?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Craig Anderson | MD PhD FRACP Executive Director  Professor of Neurology and Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Sydney Neurologist, Neurology Department, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital The George Institute for Global Health at Peking University Health Science Center Haidian District | Beijing, 100088 P.R. China

Prof. Anderson

Craig Anderson | MD PhD FRACP
Executive Director
Professor of Neurology and Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Sydney
Neurologist, Neurology Department, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
The George Institute for Global Health at Peking University Health Science Center
Haidian District | Beijing, 100088 P.R. China

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

Response: Preliminary small studies indicate that lying flat increases blood flow and oxygenation to the brain.  Thus, patients with acute ischemic stroke may benefit from lying flat in bed.  Conversely, sitting up in bed, with the head elevated to at least 30 degrees, may reduce swelling in the brain for patients who have large ischemic or hemorrhagic forms of stroke.  The optimal head position to produce the best outcome from acute stroke, and avoid potential risks, such as aspiration pneumonia, is unknown.  We undertook a large scale multicentre randomized controlled trial where 114 hospitals were randomised to sequentially apply lying flat or sitting up head positioning as a policy of care to a consecutive series of patients, that overall totalled over 11000 patients, presenting with acute stroke.  The study showed there was no difference in the chance of good physical recovery for patients between the two head positions but also that there were no excessive harms for either.

In other words, head positioning alone didn’t produce any benefits or harms in patients with acute stroke

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Intensive Blood Pressure Reduction and Spot Sign in Intracerebral Hemorrhage

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Andrea Morotti, M.D.
Research Fellow in Neurology
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School

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

Response: The CT angiography (CTA) spot sign is a validated marker of Intracerebral Hemorrhage (ICH) expansion and may identify those subjects more likely to benefit from intensive blood pressure reduction.

We observed that less than 20% of ICH patients received a CTA as part of their diagnostic workup in a large, international randomized clinical trial. The performance of the spot sign in predicting ICH growth was suboptimal compared with what was reported in previous studies. Intensive blood pressure reduction did not improve functional outcome in spot sign positive patients.

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Increase In Risk Factors Contribute To More Strokes in Rural Areas

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

George Howard, Dr.PH PI of the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study Department of Biostatistics University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL

Dr. Howard

George Howard, Dr.PH
PI of the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study
Department of Biostatistics
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL

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

Response: Rural areas have been known to have a higher death rate than urban, and higher death from stroke in rural areas is a major contributor to this disparity.

The goal of the research was to assess if the higher deaths from stroke was because rural people are more likely to have a stroke, or more likely to die from a stroke once it occurs.   This distinction is critically important, since intervention to reduce stroke deaths in rural area would focus on stroke prevention if the former, but would focus on improving stroke care (after the stroke) if the latter.

We found that the higher mortality from stroke appears to be almost completely due to more people having stroke.   As such, we need to focus on efforts to reduce the risk of rural areas.   While there are well-documented differences in stroke care between urban and rural areas, resolving these differences will not be likely reduce the rural excess death from stroke.

It would seem that the higher risk of having a stroke could be due to the observation that those in rural areas are more likely to have major stroke risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes and cigarette smoking; however, the higher prevalence of these risk factors don’t seem to explain the higher risk.   So what causes the higher risk remains a mystery.

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Comparison of NOACs with Warfarin In Atrial Fibrillation Patients With Single Stroke Risk Factor

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Gregory Y. H. Lip, MD Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine University of Birmingham, UK; Adjunct Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences, Thrombosis Research Unit, Aalborg University, Denmark National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Senior Investigator. Visiting Professor of Haemostasis Thrombosis & Vascular Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, UK Visiting Professor of Cardiology, University of Belgrade, Serbia; Visiting Professor, University of Leeds, UK Honorary Professor, Chinese PLA Medical School, Beijing, China; Honorary Professor, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China; Visiting Professor, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences City Hospital Birmingham England UK

Dr. Lip

Gregory Y. H. Lip, MD
Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine
University of Birmingham
Adjunct Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences, Thrombosis Research Unit, Aalborg University, Denmark
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Senior Investigator.
Visiting Professor of Haemostasis Thrombosis & Vascular Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, UK
Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
City Hospital
Birmingham England UK

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

Response: The randomized clinical trials comparing non-Vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) vs warfarin largely focused on recruitment of high risk atrial fibrillation(AF) patients with >2 stroke risk factors, with only the trials testing dabigatran or apixaban including a minority of patients with 1 stroke risk factor.

Despite this, regulatory approvals of all NOACs have been for stroke prevention in AF patients with ≥1 stroke risk factors. No difference between NOACs compared to warfarin in risk of ischemic stroke/systemic embolism, was seen but for ‘any bleeding’, this was lower for apixaban and dabigatran compared to warfarin.

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Cirrhosis May Raise Risk of Hemorrhagic Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Neal S. Parikh, M.D.
Administrative Chief Resident
Department of Neurology
Weill Cornell Medicine & NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

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

Response: In contrast to the gastrointestinal and systemic hemorrhagic and thrombotic complications of cirrhosis, little was known about the risk of cerebrovascular complications.

In this analysis of Medicare beneficiaries’ claims data, we found cirrhosis to be associated with stroke, with associations appearing to be stronger for hemorrhagic stroke than for ischemic stroke. We controlled for demographic variables and stroke risk factors and relevant comorbidities, and our results were essentially unchanged in multiple sensitivity analyses.

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Acupuncture Therapy and Incidence of Depression After Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Chung-Yen Lu, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Sport and Health Management, Da-Yeh University, Changhua, Taiwan; Department of Chinese Medicine, Taipei Hospital, Ministry of Health and Welfare,
New Taipei, Taiwan 

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

Response: Post-stroke depression is a common mood complication of patients with stroke and may deteriorate motor function and cognitive function. Acupuncture therapy is an alternative and supplementary medical care often used worldwide. Previous studies have reported that acupuncture therapy for post-stroke depression may involve multiple therapeuticeffects including treating neurological disorders and physical disabilities following stroke, which are predictors of post-stroke depression. However, population-based evaluations on the association between acupuncture treatment and prevention of post-stroke depression are rare.  Continue reading

Most Strokes In Women With Preeclampsia During Pregnancy Occur After Delivery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Eliza Miller, M.D. Vascular neurology fellow New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center New York City

Dr. Eliza Miller

Eliza Miller, M.D.
Vascular neurology fellow
New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center
New York City 

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

Response: Preeclampsia is a common disorder that causes high blood pressure during pregnancy. It affects about 1 in 20 pregnant women. Women with preeclampsia are at higher risk for stroke during pregnancy and post-partum, but it’s very difficult to predict who is going to have a stroke. Our study looked at a large dataset of billing data from New York State, and compared women who had preeclampsia and strokes to women who had preeclampsia but did not have a stroke.

We found that preeclamptic women with urinary tract infections, bleeding or clotting disorders, or preexisting high blood pressure were at higher risk of having strokes during pregnancy or postpartum.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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