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STABLe – Stroke Therapy Aimed at Blood Pressure Lability Reduction (2014)


Reports of research work funded by grants prior to 2014

University of Otago Wellington

STABLe – Stroke Therapy Aimed at Blood Pressure Lability Reduction

YC Tzeng
Department of Surgery & Anaesthesia

Stroke is a medical emergency, with a mortality rate higher than most forms of cancer.  In New Zealand, it is the third leading cause of death and the leading source of adult disability.  Additionally, Māori and Pacific populations are especially vulnerable with higher stroke incidences and mortality rates, and poorer functional outcomes.  Yet despite decades of relevant research designed to alleviate this disease burden, very few effective drug therapies have translated into clinical practice.  Currently, intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) is the only pharmacological therapy licensed for acute ischaemic stroke in most Western countries, but the uptake of rt-PA has been disappointingly low, with <8% of ischaemic stroke patients in some well-organised New Zealand stroke centres and <5% in community hospitals receiving it.  With an aging population, and a disease burden that is predicted to increase, there is an urgent need for more widely applicable pharmacological therapy.

The goal of this proposal is to test the hypothesis that blood pressure variability is an important therapeutic target and that its attenuation in acute stroke can improve neurological outcomes.  Our specific objectives are:

  1. Understand the haemodynamic determinants of stroke severity following middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO)
  2. Determine whether reducing blood pressure variability limits stroke severity

Progress:  The purchase of radio-telemetry system has enabled our research group to pilot surgical techniques and post-operative monitoring protocols required to address the study’s research objectives. Specifically we have now established methods for:

  1. Successfully recovering animals following stroke induction and care for their welfare post-operatively up to the day 3 endpoint
  2. Evaluating functional impairment following induced stroke in our rodent model
  3. Evaluating infarct volume using histological and MRI imaging techniques
  4. Implanting radio-telemetry probes for continuous monitoring of arterial blood pressure and vascular blood flow in conscious free moving animals following experimental stroke surgery

Plan:  The plan for the next 12 months is to complete the formal objectives of the research project as outlined in the original application.  We aim to complete aim 1 by the end of this year (December 31st) and to complete aim 2 by August 2015 with a report to the Foundation shortly thereafter.

STABLe – Stroke Therapy Aimed at Blood Pressure Lability Reduction (2014)

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