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 ...

Clot-busting drugs appear safe for treating 'wake-up' stroke patients

February 1, 2012
Clot-busting drugs may be safe for patients who wake up experiencing stroke symptoms, according to preliminary research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2012.

Recommended for you

Study reveals breakthrough in decoding brain function

September 25, 2017
If there's a final frontier in understanding the human body, it's definitely not the pinky. It's the brain.

Overturning widely held ideas: Visual attention drawn to meaning, not what stands out

September 25, 2017
Our visual attention is drawn to parts of a scene that have meaning, rather than to those that are salient or "stick out," according to new research from the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis. ...

A brain system that builds confidence in what we see, hear and touch

September 25, 2017
A series of experiments at EPFL provide conclusive evidence that the brain uses a single mechanism (supramodality) to estimate confidence in different senses such as audition, touch, or vision. The study is published in the ...

Brain guides body much sooner than previously believed

September 25, 2017
The brain plays an active and essential role much earlier than previously thought, according to new research from Tufts University scientists which shows that long before movement or other behaviors occur, the brain of an ...

The rat race is over: New livestock model for stroke could speed discovery

September 25, 2017
It is well-known in the medical field that the pig brain shares certain physiological and anatomical similarities with the human brain. So similar are the two that researchers at the University of Georgia's Regenerative Bioscience ...

Touching helps build the sexual brain

September 21, 2017
Hormones or sexual experience? Which of these is crucial for the onset of puberty? It seems that when rats are touched on their genitals, their brain changes and puberty accelerates. In a new study publishing September 21 ...

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.