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Scans on stroke patients can detect haemorrhaging

4th May 2006

The appearance of two identifiable differences on an MRI scan when someone has suffered a stroke appears to recognise patients at risk of haemorrhaging their skull, according to new research.

Researchers at the Shantou University Medical College in China and the University of Toronto in Canada found that when parenchymal enhancement of stroke lesions and hyperintense MCA signs came up on MRIs of ten ischemic stroke patients, they developed haemorrhaging within the skull.

Parenchymal enhancement is where certain cells appear brighter than usual on an MRI scan, and the hyperintense MCA sign is a special anomaly detected on the scan.

The 14 patients who did not develop haemorrhaging had no parenchymal enhancement or hyperintense MCA sign on their MRIs.

The researchers believe this is important because they said intravenous tissue plasminogen activators (tPA) remain the only approved method to treat an ischemic stroke in North America and Europe, but one of the major problems with this therapy is the risk of hemorrhaging within the skull.

Dr Gang Guo, lead author of the study, said: "The risk of life-threatening haemorrhaging increases tenfold after intravenous tPA, so the ability to identify patients at increased risk for secondary bleeding after acute stroke could potentially be helpful in increasing the effectiveness and safety of the therapy."