Using new-generation CB-CT imaging tests may shorten time to surgery for stroke patients

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Using a different type of computed tomography (CT) scan may reduce the time to essential surgery for patients with the deadliest kind of strokes—emergent large vessel occlusion (ELVO) ischaemic strokes. This is according to research presented at the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery’s 18th annual meeting (SNIS; July 26–29 2021, Colorado Springs, USA and virtual).

In the study series, titled “Novel Cone Beam CT Technology Improves Image Quality for Stroke Assessment: A Prospective Series”, researchers note that bypassing the CT scan a stroke patient would normally receive upon arrival at a stroke centre in favour of a cone-beam CT (CB-CT) available in the surgical room may help doctors shorten the time between symptom onset and stroke surgery. CB-CT is a variation on the standard CT scan whereby the X-ray tube and detector panel utilise a cone-shaped X-ray beam and flat-panel detector, as opposed to CT scanners that use a fan-shaped X-ray beam and a single detector row.

“This new generation of CB-CT technology has tremendous potential to improve patient care by shortening the time between the first stroke symptom and thrombectomy,” said Nicole Cancelliere, a radiographer and research programme manager at St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada. “Being able to quickly assess patients is one of the most important factors in connecting patients to appropriate care and moving them closer to a full recovery.”

The study authors followed 105 individuals who received stroke surgery to find out how well the newest type of CB-CT scan was able to create a baseline image of the patients’ brains. The researchers conducted four studies that reviewed the quality of three types of brain scan images and one type of technology that helps compensate for patient movement during scans to maintain a clear image. The authors found that the newest generation of CB-CT produces improved brain imaging that is of good diagnostic quality for stroke assessment in emergency settings.

“This is an important step toward a direct-to-angio approach for acute ischaemic stroke thrombectomy,” said Vitor Mendes Pereira, director of endovascular research and innovation at St Michael’s Hospital, and lead principal investigator for this study.


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