With Brain Microbleeds, Can Patients Tolerate Lower Blood Pressure?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Joshua Goldstein

Dr. Joshua Goldstein

Dr. Joshua Goldstein MD, PhD
J. Philip Kistler Stroke Research Center
Division of Neurocritical Care and Emergency Neurology, Department of Neurology MGH
Harvard Medical School, Boston Department of Emergency Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital
for the Antihypertensive Treatment of Acute Cerebral Hemorrhage 2 (ATACH-2) and the Neurological Emergencies Treatment Trials (NETT) Network Investigators  

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

Response: It’s hard to know how aggressively to lower blood pressure in acute intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH).  Randomized controlled trials have been conflicting. We thought that we could use the presence of severe small vessel disease (SVD) – manifested by microbleeds seen on brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – to guide treatment decisions.  On the one hand, those with severe SVD may be most vulnerable to continued bleeding, and specifically need more intensive blood pressure lowering.  On the other hand, if they have impaired regulation of cerebral blood flow, they might be harmed by rapid drops in blood pressure, and maybe we have to be more careful with them.

To answer this, we performed a subgroup analysis of the multi-centre ATACH-2 clinical trial of intensive blood pressure lowering. This was the first study to assess the effect of randomized acute stroke treatment on patients with more severe SVD, manifested by microbleeds.  We found that no matter what your small vessel disease burden on MRI, you’ll respond the same to early blood pressure management.

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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.

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