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West VA University Study Calls for New Method of Stroke Diagnosis
Date:10/29/2008

Largest study of CT Perfusion could change national protocols for stroke

treatment

MORGANTOWN, W. Va., Oct. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- A study conducted by a team of stroke experts from the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center demonstrates that CT (computed tomography) perfusion imaging may dramatically improve stroke diagnosis. The study showed CT perfusion had 100 percent accuracy for detecting the large, devastating type of stroke. If adopted, this advancement in stroke detection will mean dramatically faster diagnosis time -- less than half the time of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) screening -- and will enable physicians to provide more accurate and targeted care, thereby avoiding potentially life-threatening complications that can occur when "clot buster" (thrombolytic) drug therapy is used inappropriately.

According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Each year, 780,000 Americans will fall victim to stroke and, sadly, more than 150,000 lives will be lost. The cost associated with stroke care is estimated to be $65 million and growing.

The most common form of stroke, ischemic stroke (obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain), is treated with the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). However, for tPA to be most effective, the patient must receive an accurate diagnosis within three hours of the first sign of a stroke. Only three to five percent of stroke victims make it to the hospital within the critical three-hour window of treatment. While recent research demonstrates that there may be a larger window for tPA administration than previously thought, the issue remains that tPA can be dangerous when given to patients for whom it is not indicated, causing bleeding in the brain. Other recent research found that 40 percent of ER physicians would not use tPA because they were concerned about its potential risk
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SOURCE The West Virginia University Stroke Center
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