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Using CT, radiologists can pinpoint cause of some strokes
Date:11/9/2010

OAK BROOK, Ill. Multidetector computed tomography (CT) helps pinpoint the causes of ischemic strokes, the most common type of stroke, potentially speeding the delivery of life-saving treatments, according to a study published online and in the January issue of Radiology.

"Our results suggest that multidetector CT could become the first-line imaging tool for identifying the cause of acute ischemic stroke," said the study's lead author, Loic Boussel, M.D., Ph.D., professor of radiology at Louis Pradel Hospital in Bron, France.

An ischemic stroke occurs when blockage in an artery, often from a blood clot or a fatty deposit due to atherosclerosis, interrupts blood flow to an area of the brain. This type of stroke can originate in the heart, in the form of a blood clot that travels to the head, or from blood vessels in the neck (extracranial carotid arteries) and head (intracranial arteries). According to the American Stroke Association, ischemic stroke accounts for approximately 87 percent of stroke cases.

Early determination of the cause of ischemic stroke is essential for secondary stroke prevention. Anticoagulant therapy to thin the blood is the treatment of choice for most of the cardiac sources of stroke, while surgery is needed for strokes caused by severe narrowing of the extracranial carotid artery.

Physicians use a combined imaging protocol to determine the cause of an ischemic stroke. The protocol typically includes duplex ultrasonography, MR angiography or CT angiography of the neck and brain vessels, and transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography.

"This approach is time-consuming and expensive, and could delay secondary stroke prevention strategies," Dr. Boussel said.

In the new study, Dr. Boussel and colleagues analyzed the potential of multidetector CT as a faster and more cost-effective way to detect the main causes of ischemic stroke. The researchers compared a single-session
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Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert

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