The study showed that at 90 days post-stroke, angiography patients are more likely to show a one-point improvement on the six-point scale that measures stroke disability.
"Our study is the first clinical trial that shows the superiority of direct transfer to an angiography suite," said lead study author Manuel Requena, a neurologist and neurointerventionalist fellow at Vall d'Hebron Hospital in Barcelona.
"Our findings were close to what we expected, and we were surprised that they occurred so early in the study. We trust that they will be confirmed in ongoing, multicenter, international trials," Requena added.
According to the researchers, standard emergency department treatment for stroke patients involves a CT scan, which uses X-rays to pinpoint the presence and location of a blood clot.
Angiography is an advanced X-ray imaging method that uses a catheter, or thin tube, inserted into the blood vessel to find the location and size of the blockage.
Since every minute counts during a stroke, this study focused on determining if immediate angiography improved treatment time and recovery, compared to standard CT scans.
For the study, presented at the International Stroke Conference 2021, the research team involved 150 stroke patients.
In this interim analysis, stroke patients assigned to angiography underwent testing within 19 minutes of entering the hospital -- less than half of the 43 minutes for the patients who received a CT scan.
Similarly, stroke patients assigned to angiography received endovascular treatment to restore blood flow 54 minutes faster, on average, compared to CT scan recipients.