New way to image bleeding in arteries of the brain

March 8, 2012

New research from the University of Calgary's Hotchkiss Brain Institute shows that by using a CT scan (computerized tomography), doctors can predict which patients are at risk of continued bleeding in the brain after a stroke. This vital information will allow doctors to utilize the most powerful blood clotting medications for those with the highest risk.

One in three individuals will continue to accumulate blood in the from a leak in a small artery. Pooling blood in the brain has serious consequences, and could lead to disability or even death. Previously, doctors in emergency situations could not discern whether or not a patient's brain bleeding had stopped. Using images, researchers can now identify "spot signs" that are seen as a small area of contrast on the CT scan. This spot sign is the actual location of bleeding within an artery in the brain.

"Technology that has emerged has allowed us to see the brain's system in exquisite detail to precisely identify the source of the problem," explains Dr. Andrew Demchuk, Professor in the departments of clinical neurosciences and , and lead author of this study. "We are now at a point where we can harness this technology to develop better treatments for patients with a blockage or breakage in a brain artery. Ultimately this research will confirm when immediate treatment is necessary – essentially, as soon as you see the spot sign."

This research provides validation of a new imaging marker to identify patients that may need to be treated with clotting medications versus those that don't. "We must be very careful when and to whom these drugs are administered because they are so powerful at forming clots. These drugs can cause clots not only where there are holes and leaks – but also in intact arteries –potentially causing stroke and heart attacks," says Demchuk. "Therefore this CT scan selection is critical for targeting only those patients at highest risk of continued bleeding."

Clinical trials have now begun to test powerful clotting drugs in these .

This University of Calgary-led "PREDICT" study was coordinated with researchers at the Universities of Ottawa and Toronto, along with collaboration amongst nine other centres around the world. Their results were published in the March 8th online edition of the prestigious journal Lancet Neurology.

Explore further: Doctors find new way to predict recurrent stroke

Related Stories

Doctors find new way to predict recurrent stroke

February 24, 2012

New research from the University of Calgary's Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) shows that using a CT (computerised tomography) scan, doctors can predict if patients who have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or minor stroke, ...

New clue to brain bleeding after stroke treatment

October 17, 2011

The only medication currently approved for stroke treatment – tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), which dissolves blood clots – is associated with an increased risk of bleeding in the brain, particularly among patients ...

Recommended for you

Oligodendrocytes induce motor neuron death in ALS

September 27, 2016

A first-of-its-kind oligodendrocyte in vitro model shows that human cells normally supportive of motor neuron function play an active role in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis pathogenesis – and this discovery may point the ...

The language of senses

September 26, 2016

Sight, touch and hearing are our windows to the world: these sensory channels send a constant flow of information to the brain, which acts to sort out and integrate these signals, allowing us to perceive the world and interact ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.