Thursday, November 18, 2004

Ultrasound and TPA Combined Treatment for Stroke

This evening, the CBC news show The National reported on a study newly published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Part of the CBC website report follows, followed by a link to the study's abstract:
Ultrasound may improve stroke treatment
Last Updated Thu, 18 Nov 2004 21:48:52 EST

EDMONTON - Ultrasounds break up blood clots in the brain and may help to treat strokes, new research performed at Canadian hospitals suggests.

A stroke occurs when a clot blocks a blood vessel and cuts off circulation. Doctors give a drug called TPA by intravenous to dissolve blood clots lodged in the brain.

Dr. Maher Saqqur of the University of Alberta and his colleagues tested an experimental combination of TPA and ultrasound to treat stroke before brain tissues are starved of a blood supply.

"What we find is that patients who receive the TPA plus the ultrasound do well compared to patients who get the TPA just by themselves," said Saqqur.

The study looked at 126 patients. After three months, 42 per cent of patients who received the experimental treatment were fully recovered, compared to 30 per cent who had TPA alone.

The risk of bleeding in the brain appeared to be small and about the same as with TPA alone, the team reported in Thursday's issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

Vibrations from the high-intensity ultrasound waves may help to mix the drug or help TPA to stick to the clot better, the researchers speculate.
[ ... Read the full article ... ]

Here is the NEJM reference:

Andrei V. Alexandrov et al. Ultrasound-enhanced systemic thrombolysis for acute ischemic stroke. New England Journal of Medicine. 2004; 351: 2170-2178.

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