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Magnetic resonance imaging-guided focused ultrasound therapy for ischemic stroke

Thrombolytic therapy is the most effective way to treat acute ischemic stroke. Currently, the standard practice is to administer the thrombolytic drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) to stroke patients. However, tPA is only safe to administer within 4.5 hours of stroke onset; even then, the drug has serious potential side effects. These limitations necessitate the development of an alternative treatment for ischemic stroke.

We are investigating the use of high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to break up the clot and serve as a standalone therapy for ischemic stroke. We aim:

  • to determine optimal sonication parameters to re-establish blood flow in an occluded blood vessel in the brain
  • to establish the time period for which HIFU is effective
  • to assess the impact of HIFU on long-term neurological damage.


Selected Publications

  1. Hitchcock KE, Holland CK. 2010. Ultrasound assisted thrombolysis for stroke therapy: better thrombus break up with bubbles. Stroke. In press
  2. Wright C., Hynynen K. and Goertz D. An in vitro and in vivo investigation of high intensity focused ultrasound thrombolysis. Ultrasound Med Biol. Submitted
  3. Saver JL., Albers GW., Dunn B., Johnston KC., Fisher M. 2009. Stroke therapy academic industry roundtable (STAIR) recommendations for extended window acute stroke therapy trials. Stroke. 40: 2594-2600.