Value of single-photon emission-computed tomography in acute stroke therapeutic trials.
New therapeutic interventions for acute ischemic stroke are aimed at improving cerebral blood flow in the first 3 to 6 hours after symptom onset. Single-photon emission-computed tomography (SPECT) performed in the setting of clinical therapeutic trials may give us a better understanding of the physiological response to new forms of treatment and could impact acute management decisions.
We prospectively studied 15 patients with hemispheric ischemic stroke with SPECT within 6 hours of symptom onset and again at 24 hours. The ischemic defect was assessed in a semiquantitative manner that used computer-generated regions of interest (SPECT graded scale). This measure was correlated with clinical presentation (National Institutes of Health [NIH] Stroke Scale), initial clinical course (change in NIH Stroke Scale), long-term outcome (Barthel Index at 3 months), and complications of cerebral hemorrhage and edema.
The severity of the SPECT graded scale on the admission scan correlated with the severity of neurological deficit (admission NIH Stroke Scale) (P < .05) and was positively associated with poor long-term outcome as measured with the Barthel Index (P < .001) and the complications of cerebral hemorrhage and massive cerebral edema (P < .005). In fact, there was a threshold value for the SPECT graded scale above which all patients suffered poor long-term outcome and the complications of cerebral hemorrhage and edema.
The measurement of an ischemic defect using SPECT is a valid assessment of hemispheric stroke severity in the hyperacute setting and may be useful for selecting or stratifying patients in clinical therapeutic trials.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association