Stroke Association Edith Murphy Foundation Senior Clinical Lectureship for Medical Professionals Award
Description of research
Brain imaging is essential for the initial assessment of patients presenting to hospital with stroke symptoms. This is mostly performed with a CT (computed tomography) scan, which is used to determine whether symptoms are likely to be due to a blocked artery, bleeding into the brain, or something else.
The results of the CT scan determine whether a patient can be offered treatment. For patients with a blocked artery (an ischaemic stroke), treatments can be offered to relieve the blockage.
The CT scan can also provide information on the area of the brain injured by stroke. However, there is uncertainty over what this information actually means, and if we should use it to decide which patients are more or less likely to benefit from treatment, or indeed be harmed by treatment.
For example, it might be possible to use the CT scan to determine how much of the brain injured by the stroke can be recovered with treatment, and how much is beyond recovery.
It also seems possible to accurately estimate how much time has passed since a patient’s stroke began using only the CT scan. For approximately 20% of patients with ischaemic stroke (around 20,000 yearly in the UK) the time of onset is unknown and therefore, treatment cannot currently be offered.
This research project aims to better understand how particular features of the CT scan can be used to make better treatment decisions for patients with ischaemic stroke, and whether we can accurately estimate the time since the stroke began.
It will also develop computer systems that should help doctors dealing with stroke in an emergency setting. The aim is to help doctors to recognise important imaging features more easily and predict whether each individual patient is more likely to get benefit or be harmed by treatment.