Baptist Selected for Innovative Stroke Study

Sunday, May 1, 2016

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Baptist Neuroscience Services are collaborating with the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in the first, large standardized research study to evaluate long-term outcomes of mild strokes. This is in an effort to potentially update the immediate treatment of mild strokes for the improvement of patients’ well-being afterwards.

There are two types of stroke: intracranial hemorrhage and ischemic strokes. Hemorrhages involve the rupturing of a blood vessel. Ischemic strokes occur as the result of blood vessel blockage decreasing oxygen supply to the brain. The standard emergency treatment for ischemic stroke, for patients meeting a certain criteria, is Tissue Plasminogen Activator, aka TPA.

“TPA is a clot-buster drug that can be infused in the vein,” explains Keith Jones, M.D., of Baptist Neurology Associates. It will dissolve clots anywhere in the body. It’s a systemic medication.” Because of current medical guidelines, TPA is typically administered to patients with acute, strokes with significant deficits. The forthcoming research looks to expand the opportunities to treat mild stroke patients with TPA. “This could lead to new criteria,” continues Dr. Jones, “that could possibly mean the difference between a life of dependence or independence for some patients, going forward.”

After an extensive vetting process, Baptist was selected to participate in this three-year observational study called MARISS (Mild and Rapidly Improving Stroke Study). Mild and rapidly improving stroke symptoms are common, affecting more than a third of all stroke patients who report to the emergency department, but the majority are not treated with TPA, according to a 2011 study published in the journal, Stroke. However, up to a third of these patients are unable to return directly to their homes and need immediate physical or occupational therapy to regain their independence. The MARISS study aims to determine the long-term outcomes of these patients. (Click here for details)

Using data from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s quality improvement program, Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke, researchers will examine outcomes of up to 2,650 patients with mild or rapidly improving stroke. Each participating hospital is expected to recruit about 30 patients during the course of the study. The research will be conducted retrospectively.

“Patients will be asked to participate after they’ve been treated,” elaborates Teresa Ellerbusch, Baptist Stroke Coordinator. “And not everybody surveyed will have received TPA. Through a series of interviews at different standardized times after their stroke, we’ll chart the participants’ progress.”

“This is an important research study that addresses an important group of patients who have the best chance of recovery from a stroke,” said Jose Romano, M.D., MARISS principal investigator and professor of clinical neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “The MARISS study addresses a critical knowledge gap in stroke research, and we commend Baptist for being part of this vital study.”

“Baptist is dedicated to helping our patients with stroke have the best possible outcomes, and through this important study, we hope to learn more about an optimal treatment that will enhance the quality of life for many whom experience a mild or rapidly-improving stroke,” said Deniece Ponder, MHSA, BSN, RN, OCN, Administrative Director of Baptist Oncology and Neuroscience Services. “Additionally, inclusion in this study, based on our track record for quality, is testament to Baptist’s staff and administration.”

Pictured left to right:  Baptist Stroke Coordinator Teresa Ellerbusch,  Baptist Neurology Associates Keith Jones, MD, and Baptist Oncology and Neuroscience Services Administrator Director Deniece Ponder, MHSA, BSN, RN, OCN

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