Reducing Stroke Burden with Hospital-Ready Biomarker Test for Rapid TIA Triage
Every year, 50,000 Canadians have a stroke, making it the leading cause of disability in the country. However, an equal number of people suffer what are called transient ischemic attacks, or TIAs, which, while less serious, can lead to strokes. The problem is that many conditions, including migraines, can present as TIAs, leading to expensive neuroimaging testing. What’s needed is a quick, inexpensive test that would differentiate TIAs from other conditions. The team led by Drs. Andrew Penn, Christoph Borchers and Shelagh Coutts are developing just such a test, which will provide results within an hour or so, for a fraction of the cost of imaging. With the results of this test, doctors will know whether to keep patients for further care or send them home. This will reduce unneeded imaging risks and costs as well as prevent TIAs from progressing to a full stroke. Averting just 4,000 strokes would save $210 million per year in direct health care costs. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada will work to ensure that physicians, allied healthcare providers, the public and other stakeholders are aware of the outcomes and clinical impacts of this project.