September 17, 1999

Symposium details recent stroke advances

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Dr. Anthony Furlan, of the Cleveland Clinic, spoke about investigational therapies at the recent Stroke Symposium.

Symposium details recent stroke advances

The second annual Vanderbilt Stoke Symposium, held last week at the Vanderbilt Stadium Club, offered a bevy of information about the nation's third leading cause of death.

The all-day event featured numerous seminars and presentations highlighting many of the latest cutting-edge stroke prevention and treatment options.

"Stroke is one of the most deadly diseases in the United States but it is also one of the most preventable," said Dr. Howard S. Kirshner, professor and vice chair of Neurology.

Recently, several large, multi-center clinical trials have shown that several different types of treatments, both surgical and medical, can improve the lives of people who have had strokes.

"Treatments that have recently been proven effective include carotid endarterectomy, antiplatelet therapy, and anticoagulation. These treatments, and a promising second revolution in the acute treatment of stroke, show great promise in saving many lives in the coming years," said Kirshner.

Following Kirshner's welcoming remarks, Patricia Hebert, Ph.D., associate professor of Preventive Medicine, gave an overview about the relationship between lowering cholesterol and stroke. Her analysis of several recent studies showed a marked decrease in stoke mortality in patients who reduce their cholesterol levels.

Dr. MacRae F. Linton, associate professor of Medicine, gave a presentation titled "Treatment of Hyperlipidemia," which explained the latest in treatment options for the excess of fatty substances in the blood.

The keynote speech, by Dr. Anthony Furlan of the Cleveland Clinic, explained the effectiveness of intra-arterial thrombolytic treatment of acute stroke. Furlan's presentation illuminated the effectiveness of an investigational thrombolytic drug, prourokinace, in addition to the approved treatment, tissue plasminogen activator (TPA).

Dr. Corey M. Slovis, professor and chair of Emergency Medicine, kicked off the afternoon presentations with a talk about techniques for quickly identifying potential stroke patients.

The Vanderbilt Stroke Team — Kirshner; Dr. Jeffrey T. Harris, instructor in Neurology; and Dr. Faiz Niaz, clinical fellow in Neurology, wrapped up the day with presentations detailing stroke rehabilitation and research around the country and at VUMC.