Enzyme test could reveal who will need long-term care after one type of stroke, researchers say

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By testing for particular molecules in cerebrospinal fluid, doctors can identify who is most likely to need long-term care following a subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) stroke, according to researchers.

A team of clinicians at Harvard University Medical School and researchers from Australia's Monash University discovered that SAH stroke patients with elevated levels of the enzyme endothelin converting enzyme-1 (ECE-1) and its substrate, big endothelin-1 (BigET-1), are likely to need long-term care.

"This is the first time doctors have had an early and accurate indication that disability will occur, giving them time to focus appropriate and aggressive therapies on this group of patients," stated researcher Sanjaya Kuruppu, Ph.D. "More importantly, it provides families with information required to make crucial decisions about subsequent long-term care."

Cerebrospinal fluid is already monitored post-stroke, meaning clinicians can test for these enzymes without putting the patient through any new procedures. The researchers say they are developing a rapid test for the enzyme and are planning a larger study.

Monash University released the results of the study Tuesday.

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