MRIs help spot brain damage in stroke patients - New York News

MRIs help spot brain damage in stroke patients

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A stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Michigan. A stroke happens when the blood supply is cut off to the brain and results can range from different disabilities to death. However, new research shows how an MRI may be the key to figuring out how to save the brain.

When it comes to treating patients who have had a stroke, traditionally an emergency CT scan is used to figure out how much damage has been done. A CAT scan is a specialized X-ray taken of the brain that takes five minutes. But now, a Cleveland Clinic stroke doctor has discovered adding an MRI test, which uses magnetic imaging and takes about 30 minutes, not only gives a clearer picture but can make a big difference.
 
"It does really give us a lot more information, and then we can really then target those people who have a large amount of brain to save and they're really going to benefit from therapy," says Dr. Shazam Hussain.  

Hussain and his team added an MRI to see if it would get them a better picture of how much brain injury had already occurred. If too much damage has taken place, procedures designed to remove or break up clots in the brain could put a patient at greater risk and provide little benefit.

Results show that the MRI helped better identify good candidates for treatment, and those who received an MRI had better outcomes. Some people fear adding another test could take too long and cause more damage but Hussan says that wasn't the case.  

"Most people in the country felt that using MRI would cause a lot of delays in being able to administer this kind of treatment. We actually found there was no difference in the time it took us to get actually into the angio room to start the procedure," he says.  

Complete results can be found in the journal, 'Stroke.'

Remember, if someone is suffering a stroke the faster he or she gets to the doctor, the faster the blood flow returns to the brain. The acronym FAST helps you spot the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke.

F ace drooping
A rm weakness
S peech difficulty
T ime to call 911

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