Blood flow technology from VasSol Identifies risk of recurrent stroke


A recently completed National Institutes of Health-funded trial confirms the efficacy of blood flow measurement technology from VasSol to predict the possibility of repeated stroke in at-risk individuals.

VasSol’s NOVA (Non-invasive Optimal Vessel Analysis) software provided the quantitative data that underpinned the VERiTAS (Vertebrobasilar flow evaluation and risk of transient ischemic attack and stroke) clinical trial, which found that low blood flow to the back of the brain increased patients’ risk of recurrent strokes. The results, presented at the International Stroke Conference (Nashville, USA, 11–13 February, 2015) are expected to substantially improve both the study and treatment of stroke.

“Identifying those at highest risk for a stroke makes studying the condition easier and leads to better, more precise therapies and more focused implementation of health care resources,” said Fady Charbel, inventor of NOVA, which runs on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment found in most hospitals and imaging centres worldwide. Chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago Hospital, where much of the product’s research took place, Charbel founded VasSol in 2001 to commercialise NOVA and continues as the company’s chief scientific officer.

“More aggressive procedures such as angioplasty and stenting carry significant risks and are expensive. However, they may be necessary for high-risk patients. NOVA provides information that an MRI alone cannot provide. And because it helps patients receive the appropriate treatment, it improves patient safety and reduces health care costs,” he said.

VasSol chief executive officer Chuck Doherty believes that qMRA (quantitative magnetic resonance angiography) tests, the procedure that NOVA software performs, will become a standard of care in evaluating posterior stroke patients, other stroke patients and those at risk for stroke.

“The rigorous protocols of the VERiTAS trial were impressive,” he said. “Before VERiTAS, physicians were in a quandary regarding treatment for posterior stroke. The average stroke rate in all posterior stroke patients was 8.5% in the first 12 months—too low to justify anything but medical management.”

“Decision-making is easier now that physicians can use our NOVA software to identify the low blood-flow patients who are most at risk for another stroke. Physicians can confidently prescribe more complex procedures to improve the quality of life and lifespan of these patients.”

To meet expected demand for NOVA software stemming from the VERiTAS results, VasSol is seeking a partner that can provide worldwide distribution, according to Doherty.