Canadian research paves the way for possible new treatment for bleeding strokes

March 9, 2012

A Canadian-led international study shows that a CT (computerized tomography) scan can help doctors predict which patients are at risk of continued bleeding in the brain after a stroke. This vital information paves the way for clinical trials that will investigate clotting medications that may be able to halt this bleeding and prevent some of the damage caused by these strokes.

“Strokes that are caused by bleeding inside the brain tissue are the most severe kind,” said Dr. Dar Dowlatshahi, Project Officer for the study, Associate Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Stroke Neurologist at The Ottawa Hospital and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. “Nearly half of patients with bleeding strokes die, and the majority of those who survive are disabled. This study is the first step toward a treatment for this devastating disease.”

The study, called PREDICT, involved 268 patients from 12 centres in six countries. It was led by Dr. Andrew Demchuk of the University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute, with significant contributions from researchers in Ottawa and Toronto.

“This study used rapid CT scan imaging of the brain after intravenous dye injection to help us identify stroke patients who are still bleeding,” said Dr. Cheemun Lum, Site Investigator for the Ottawa arm of the study, Neuroradiologist at The Ottawa Hospital, Clinical Investigator at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and Associate Professor of Radiology at the University of Ottawa. “Now that we can identify these patients, the hope is that we will be able to treat them with clotting medications to stop the bleeding. Clinical trials to test this are now underway in Ottawa and several other centres.”

The study was supported by the Canadian Stroke Consortium and Novo Nordisk Canada. The results were published in the March 8th online edition of the prestigious journal Lancet Neurology. See media release from the University of Calgary for further details.

Media Contact: Jennifer Ganton (formerly Paterson) 613-798-5555 x 73325