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MRI may help determine time of stroke onset
Date:11/1/2010

OAK BROOK, Ill. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain could expand the number of stroke patients eligible for a potentially life-saving treatment, according to a new study, published online and in the December issue of the journal Radiology.

Some patients who suffer an acute ischemic stroke in which a blood clot or other obstruction blocks blood flow in the brain can be treated with a drug called tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, that dissolves the clot and restores blood flow. However, the clot-busting drug can only be administered within four and a half hours of the onset of a stroke; when given beyond that window of time, the drug can cause bleeding in the brain.

According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States behind diseases of the heart and cancer. Approximately 795,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

"As many as a quarter of all stroke patients cannot be given tPA because they wake up with stroke symptoms or are unable to tell their doctor when their stroke began," said lead researcher Catherine Oppenheim, M.D., Ph.D., professor of radiology at Universit Paris Descartes in France.

In the study, Dr. Oppenheim and her team of researchers reviewed data from consecutive patients with acute ischemic stroke treated at Sainte-Anne Hospital in Paris between May 2006 and October 2008. The time of stroke onset was well defined in all patients and each underwent MRI within 12 hours.

The 130 patients in the study included 77 men and 53 women (mean age 64.7). Of those, 63 patients underwent MRI within three hours of stroke onset and 67 were imaged between three and 12 hours after stroke onset.

The radiologists analyzed different types of MRI data on the patients, including fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR), diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) ratios.

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Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert

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