Imaging Carotid Atheroma in the Recovery and Understanding of Severity in Stroke Study (ICARUSS)
Carotid artery stenosis is a major cause of stroke. The narrowing of these arteries is caused by atheroma; fatty deposits that cause ‘furring up’ of the arteries. It was previously thought that the mechanism through which atheroma caused stroke was by limiting blood flow. However, it is increasingly recognised that atheroma may form sites of inflammation. Inflammation within atheroma is known to be associated with atheroma rupture and formation of blood clots that may break off and trigger strokes (thromboemboli). What is not known is how this affects recovery in the longer term.
In the ICARUSS study we use Positron Emission Tomography (PET) to measure the amount of inflammation within the carotid arteries of participants who have had a stroke due to carotid artery stenosis. This is then compared to the severity and recovery from stroke that is assessed using clinical and radiological techniques (using Magnetic Resonance Imaging, MRI).
The ICARUSS study will increase our understanding of the role that inflammation plays in stroke, in particular the severity and recovery from this disabling condition. The study considers not only the physical effects of a stroke but also the effects upon cognition and psychological wellbeing. Understaning how inflammation affects these outcomes will allow improved prognostication of recovery and delivery of patient-specific rehabilitation.