|EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE
Tuesday, June 15, 1999
10:00 a.m. EST
NHLBI Communications Office (301) 496-4236
Margo Warren at NINDS (301) 496-5751
Ronna Borenstein-Levy at Suburban Hospital (301) 896-2598
NIH Study to Evaluate Role of MRI in Emergency Diagnosis of Heart Attack & Stroke
- Patients with a definite heart attack will be treated with current state-of-the-art therapies such as a clot-busting drug or balloon angioplasty. MRI evaluation of these patients will occur after stabilization.
- For patients without a definite explanation for their chest pain, scientists hope to use the high quality image of MRI to rapidly identify which of these patients has unstable angina or a heart attack.
- Patients with a milder chest pain–possibly angina-- will be evaluated with MRI and traditional clinical evaluation.
The stroke component of the study will be fully operational in the fall of 1999. Until that time, a pilot phase will be in effect. Dr. Steve Warach, Chief of the NINDS Section on Stroke Diagnostics and Therapeutics, said the new stroke program will help researchers address the many unanswered questions about stroke causes, diagnosis, and treatment.
The NINDS research team will investigate the factors that cause brain damage in stroke as well as study promising new treatment approaches to see if brain damage can be reduced.
Currently, there is only one proven medicine to help victims of acute stroke, t-PA, a clot-dissolving drug that must be delivered to a patient in the hospital within 3 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms.
In order to determine whether patients are eligible for t-PA treatment, they must first have a CT scan, to see whether the stroke is ischemic (caused by a blockage) or hemorrhagic (caused by bleeding in the brain). If the stroke is ischemic, the patient may be eligible for treatment, but if the stroke is hemorrhagic, delivery of t-PA is dangerous because it can cause more bleeding. NINDS scientists will compare the effectiveness of MRI with CT scans in detecting acute hemorrhages. If MRI proves to be as good or better than CT for seeing blood, MRI alone will replace both tests in most stroke patients.
Another study will involve the development and testing of strategies to extend the "window of opportunity" for optimal stroke treatment beyond 3 hours. One strategy involves direct administration of medication into damaged brain tissue.
Scanned images from both the heart and stroke studies will be archived into a database-- along with clinical, laboratory, and other information-- to keep track of patient results.
To arrange an interview with Dr. Robert Balaban or Dr. Andrew Arai of NHLBI, contact the NHLBI Communications Office at (301) 496-4236. To schedule an interview with Dr. Steven Warach of NINDS, contact Margo Warren at (301) 496-5751. For an interview with Dr. Wayne Olan, director of MRI services at Suburban Hospital or Dr. Eugene Passamani, director of cardiology at Suburban, contact Ronna Borenstein-Levy at (301)896-2598.