RSNA Logo When an artery is blocked due to a blood clot or a fatty deposit, blood flow to an area of the brain may be disrupted and can give rise to an ischemic stroke. The American Stroke Association suspects that almost 87 percent of stroke cases are ischemic. A latest research asserts that multidetector computed tomography (CT) can locate the precise causes of ischemic strokes and helps improve the speed of delivering life-saving treatments. It was suggested that multidetector CT can become the first-line imaging tool for identifying the reason of acute ischemic stroke.

In order to achieve secondary stroke prevention it is necessary that the cause of ischemic stroke is known as soon as possible. Many a times, patients may be subjected to anticoagulant therapy for thinning the blood. Surgery is probably recommended only when strokes are triggered due to severe narrowing of the extracranial carotid artery. With the help of a combined imaging protocol, researchers were supposedly able to distinguish the exact cause of an ischemic stroke. Usually the protocol seems to encompass duplex ultrasonography, MR angiography or CT angiography of the neck and brain vessels, and transthoracic along with transesophageal echocardiography.

However, this approach may not only be time-consuming and expensive, but also results in delay of secondary stroke prevention strategies. During investigations, Loic Boussel, M.D., Ph.D., lead investigator, professor of radiology at Louis Pradel Hospital in Bron, France and colleagues observed that the multidetector CT is faster and more cost-effective to analyze the main causes of ischemic stroke. 46 ischemic stroke patients were subjected to a single-session multidetector CT examination of the heart, neck and brain vessels. While 20 percent cases apparently were because of major arterial atherosclerosis, most stroke cases had cardiac sources.

The research is published online and will appear in the January issue of Radiology.