The University of Illinois at Chicago has been awarded a five-year, $2.1 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to lead a multi-center study to assess blood flow and stroke risk.
Ischemic strokes -- the type caused by clots rather than bleeds in the brain -- account for 80 percent of all strokes and represent a major source of death and disability. They are often caused by atherosclerosis, a build-up of plaque inside the walls of blood vessels.
Advances in endovascular techniques, such as threading a catheter to open up a blockage, or placing a stent in a vessel, provide new treatment options for patients with stroke. But these interventions carry risks, and physicians don't always know which patients are appropriate candidates for these procedures.
"There's been a lot of emphasis in prior medical research on the type of stroke that affects the anterior circulation, or blood supply to the major lobes in the front of the brain," says Dr. Sepideh Amin-Hanjani, UIC assistant professor of neurological surgery and principal investigator of the study.
"But there's another set of arteries that supply the back part of the brain, including the brainstem, which is a smaller, but in some ways, a much more functionally important part of the brain with a lot of important real estate," she said.
Even a very small stroke in this area of the brain can have very devastating consequences, Amin-Hanjani said.
Until recently, it has been difficult for researchers to measure blood flow in the vertebral arteries to the back of the brain. But they hypothesize that patients with vascular disease in these arteries have low blood flow and are at higher risk of stroke.
The study will enroll 80 patients at five sites who have first-time stroke symptoms caused by 50 percent or greater blockage of the arteries leading to the back of the brain.
Patients will receive standard brain
|Contact: Sherri McGinnis Gonzalez|
University of Illinois at Chicago