UB Stroke Researchers Develop New Technique To Measure Blood Rate-of-flow, Treat Brain Malformations

CHICAGO -- A new technique for determining the rate of blood flow, developed by researchers at the University at Buffalo Toshiba Stroke Research Center, will enable neurosurgeons, using digital radiographic imaging, to characterize and treat cerebrovascular abnormalities called arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) more effectively.

The new method, called dual contrast injection, which has not been used elsewhere for this condition, was described today (Nov. 30, 1998) at the Radiological Society of America annual meeting in Chicago by lead researcher William Granger, a UB physiology and biophysics doctoral candidate.

Neurosurgeons with UB's Toshiba Stroke Research Center have used the procedure on 21 patients, with no complications. An AVM is a tangle of fragile vessels in the brain or spinal chord that forms between an artery, which carries oxygen-rich blood to the brain, and a vein, which drains oxygen-depleted blood back to the lungs for replenishment. It creates a short-circuit between the two circulation systems, shunting blood directly from the artery into the vein, effectively bypassing the brain.

An AVM can leak or rupture if it isn't treated. The condition is thought to be congenital, and is diagnosed most frequently in young adults, Granger said.

One way of treating AVMs, and the method of choice of neurosurgeons at the UB Toshiba Stroke Research Center, is to seal off the entrances to the blood vessels nourishing the AVM, called feeding pedicules, with a glue-like substance. With the feeding pedicules sealed off, circulation resumes its normal path, full oxygenation of the brain is restored, and the threat of bleeding or stroke is eliminated.

For this technique to work maximally, neurosurgeons must be able to gauge the exact rate of blood flow through the AVM, so they can determine the transit time of the glue from the injection point to the site to be blocked. They then can formulate the gluing agent so it hardens at the

Contact: Lois Baker
University at Buffalo

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