Medical researchers at the University of Iowa are looking for recent stroke victims who might qualify for a new sort of treatment. Dr. Pat Hitchon, a U-of-I professor of neurosurgery, says the project is called COSS, for Carotid Occlusion Surgical Study. It’s for patients who’ve had a blood vessel on one side of their neck completely close up.Patients who are in this situation may be diabetic, smokers, or suffering from hypertension or hypercholesterolemia. When this type of blood vessel closes up, it can’t be re-opened, as is sometimes the case. Dr. Hitchon says the condition can cause a variety of health problems if left undiscovered or untreated for long. He says they may have blindness in one eye, difficulty with speech, or weakness in one arm or leg. Hitchon says they’ve been experimenting with a type of surgery that creates a new passage for the blood between the scalp and brain. He says volunteers are needed to help determine whether the surgical procedure is going to be of use. Half of the patients will be treated with medicines while the other half will have the surgery. Hitchon says they “really don’t know whether the surgery is beneficial and to what degree,” which is why the U-of-I is launching the randomized trial. He says the study is being funded by the National Institutes of Health and patients will face -no- charges. For more information, call Dr. Pat Davis at (319) 356-4301.
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