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United Hospital research studies more effective, less expensive stroke treatment

ST. PAUL, Minn. 04/20/2017

A research study at United Hospital is trying to determine if a drug called conivaptan (also known as Vaprisol) may provide a more effective, less expensive way to treat hemorrhagic strokes (intracereberal hemorrhage, or ICH). This is the most devastating form of stroke and is caused when an artery supplying blood to the brain ruptures, causing blood to spill into the brain. Among the possible complications of this disease is brain swelling (cerebral edema), which can reduce blood flow and cause further brain injury.

"We know conivaptan to be safe for other symptoms.  After a hemorrhagic stroke, the brain around this bleed often swells injuring other parts of the brain.  We think it [conivaptan] may helpful in reducing this swelling," said neurologist Dr. Jesse Corry, the study's principal investigator at United Hospital. "At this current stage, we are looking to confirm that this drug is safe specifically for people with ICH and to monitor any side effects of the drug on brain swelling."

In addition, said Corry, the study will also measure the reduction of brain swelling, length of hospital stay, need for surgical procedures, in-hospital mortality, and neurological functioning.

"This study is an essential first step in understanding the role of conivaptan in the management of brain swelling for patients with ICH," Corry said. "We hope the success of this study will lead to future studies in a larger patient population to study the most effective dose of conivaptan to reduce cerebral edema, and if use in ICH can improve outcome and reduce cost of care."

The study will involve a total of seven adult patients with hemorrhagic stroke symptoms noted less than 48 hours before being brought to United Hospital. In addition to normal treatment, participants will be given 20mg of conivaptan every 12 hours over 2 days (4 doses total). Participants will have additional blood draws and brain imaging (CT/computed tomography) for monitoring purposes. Participation in this study will last through discharge and will conclude at the standard 3-month visit.

"If conivaptan is as effective as we hope it might be, we could ultimately see shorter hospital stays and reduced need for surgical interventions, and that would mean better outcomes for our patients and reduced cost of care," said Corry.

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