Until recently, the clot busting drug, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) has been the only standard of care for treating patients with acute ischemic stroke. This drug works by breaking up a clot that is blocking blood flow to the brain. Unfortunately, although this drug is effective at recanalizing smaller distal clots (>70% success), it only succeeds in breaking up larger clots 15-25% of the time. In addition, this drug cannot be given to people taking blood thinners or those who have had recent surgery, as bleeding could result. It is in this context that three recent randomized controlled trials have shown overwhelming efficacy of intra-arterial therapy (IAT) for the treatment of acute ischemic stroke. This therapy uses a catheter to manually remove clots from within the arteries that supply the brain. IAT will now become the standard of care for patients with severe strokes caused by larger clots. However, this procedure requires a very high level of expertise and infrastructure and will therefore likely only be available at a few tertiary care hospitals. Because stroke is a common cerebrovascular event, many patients will present to their community hospitals where this expertise is limited and IAT is not available. In the cases where IAT is required, transfer to a tertiary hospital will be necessary. As 1.9 million neurons are lost per minute of stroke, it is of the utmost importance that the course of treatment is decided upon quickly and that time is not spent transferring a patient for IAT when tPA would be the appropriate treatment.
It is here that QuikFlo Health Inc. has the opportunity to fill a knowledge gap by providing our stroke triaging expertise to community hospitals through an automated software that synthesizes all relevant imaging information and supports the decision to treat with tPA locally or transfer a patient to a tertiary hospital for IAT.
The science behind QuikFlo Health's software is based on a number of important areas:
- CT Imaging: non-contrast, multiphase angiography, and perfusion
- Automated image processing and segmentation
- Probability calculations of brain tissue survival and final infarct size
Check out some of these relevant publications from our team members, describing current research in stroke triaging and treatment:
- Heart & Stroke Foundation: Research Breakthrough to Revolutionize Stroke Treatment
- University of Calgary: Researchers Create New Company to Help Stroke Patients
- Multiphase CT Angiography: A New Tool for the Imaging Triage of Patients with Acute Ischemic Stroke has been selected by the Radiological Society of North America as one of five finalists for the Alexander R. Margulis Award for Scientific Excellence.
- Time-Dependent Computed Tomographic Perfusion Thresholds for Patients with Acute Ischemic Stroke featured on the December cover of Stroke