Hands-free ultrasound plus tPA safe for ischemic stroke: Study

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 25, 2013, 13:47 PM IST

Houston: A hands-free ultrasound device combined with clot buster is safe for ischemic stroke patients, as it could help open up more arteries and improve patient outcomes, according to a new study.

 The device is placed on the stroke patient's head and delivers ultrasound to enhance the effectiveness of the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), according to the report in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Unlike the traditional hand-held ultrasound probe that is aimed at a blood clot, the hands-free device uses 18 separate probes and showers the deep areas of the brain where large blood clots cause severe strokes.

 "Our goal is to open up more arteries in the brain and help stroke patients recover," said Andrew D Barreto, lead author of the study and assistant professor of neurology in the Stroke Programme at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

 "This technology would have a significant impact on patients, families and society if we could improve outcomes by another 5-10 percent by adding ultrasound to patients who've already received tPA."

 Researchers have launched an 830-patient international, randomised efficacy study of the ultrasound approach combined with the clot buster in ischemic stroke, which occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain.

 The study was conducted at the University of Texas Health Science Centre at Houston and the University of Alabama-Birmingham.