News | October 13, 2014

New Imaging Tool May Prevent Strokes

October 13, 2014 -- A study using a new imaging tool, optical coherence tomography (OCT), offered a new look at the composition of carotid artery disease and has the potential to alter how physicians understand and treat the disease, a leading cause of stroke.

The study, conducted at Baptist Health Lexington between September 2010 and May 2012, was featured in the June 2014 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) Cardiovascular Interventions. Interventional cardiologist Michael R. Jones, M.D., served as a principal investigator of the study, which also included neurosurgeons William H. Brooks, M.D., and Christian N. Ramsey, M.D., neurointerventional radiologist Curtis A. Given II, M.D., along with physicians from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and Pitangueiras Hospital in Jundiai, Brazil.

The study involved a retrospective review of 53 patients suspected of having carotid artery stenosis, a narrowing caused by the build-up of plaque. The patients – both symptomatic and asymptomatic for stroke – underwent diagnostic carotid angiography as well as OCT.

"Because OCT offers such high resolution images, we were able to identify some plaque as 'vulnerable' or 'unstable,'" explained Jones.

Physicians have suspected that unstable plaque is at risk for rupture. The body treats a rupture in a blood vessel as a wound and forms a blood clot to stop the bleeding. This clot can then dislodge from the plaque and travel to the brain causing a stroke. Less commonly, the plaque itself can break off and travel to the brain.

The study revealed that symptomatic patients had a larger percentage of unstable plaque but actually less blockage when compared to the plaque found in vessels of asymptomatic patients.

It has long been thought that opening carotid arteries severely narrowed by plaque – either with surgery or a stent – is one of the most effective ways to prevent stroke. The OCT study revealed that severity of the narrowing was not as much of a predictor of stroke as the composition of the plaque itself.

"This study, along with others sure to come, could change the way we test patients with carotid artery disease," Jones said. "It could be that they might be better served with looking at the type of plaque they have rather than by measuring the severity of their blockage."

For more information visit:

Related Content

Majority of High-Risk Stroke Patients Not Being Screened for Common Risk Factors
News | Stroke| September 28, 2017
September 28, 2017 — New research revealed that on average, more than 75 percent of people aged 65 and older worldwid
SanBio Receives $20 Million Grant for Stroke Clinical Trial
News | Stroke| July 12, 2017
July 12, 2017 — SanBio Inc.
German Workshop Highlights Possibilities of Perfusion MRI
News | Stroke| July 03, 2017
When diagnosing strokes and heart diseases or looking at tumors, perfusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) offers a...
Stroke History Higher in Asymptomatic Versus Symptomatic Atrial Fibrillation Patients
News | Stroke| June 28, 2017
Newly diagnosed asymptomatic atrial fibrillation patients have a higher rate of previous stroke than those with...
Analysis Shows Increased Risk of Early Stroke with New-Onset Atrial Fibrillation Post-TAVR, SCAI 2017 late-breaking clinical trial
News | Stroke| May 12, 2017
More than one-third of patients undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) were observed to have atrial...
hyperbaric oxygen treatment, HBOT, stroke, David Steenblock D.O.

Image courtesy of David Steenblock, D.O.

News | Stroke| April 06, 2017
David Steenblock, D.O., an osteopathic physician based in San Clemente, Calif., recently discussed his use of...
marijuana use, increased risk, stroke, heart failure, ACC 2017 study
News | Stroke| March 15, 2017
Using marijuana raises the risk of stroke and heart failure even after accounting for demographic factors, other health...
DEFUSE-2 study, MRI, brain bleeding risk, post-stroke treatment, NIH

This image combines pre- and post-treatment scans from the same patient. Analysis of the two scans revealed that the area and size of post-treatment bleeding corresponded to blood-brain barrier disruption (shown in green, yellow and red) prior to therapy. Image courtesy of Richard Leigh, NINDS.

News | Stroke| June 29, 2016
In a study of stroke patients, investigators confirmed through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans an...
hemmorhagic stroke, blood pressure management, ATACH II trial, NINDS

Brain scan showing damage caused by bleeding during a hemorrhagic stroke. Image courtesy of Adnan I Qureshi, M.D., University of Minnesota.

News | Stroke| June 09, 2016
June 9, 2016 — An international stroke study
Overlay Init