New funding to guide better treatment of critical brain bleeds

New funding to guide better treatment of critical brain bleeds

SYDNEY, OCT 3 - The George Institute for Global Health will receive $902,000 to evaluate the best treatments for aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage, it was announced today. 

This condition, which most commonly affects women aged 40 to 60, will lead to the death of one third of all people afflicted. More than half of those who survive will suffer permanent disability. This clinical trial will help doctors better manage patients with this condition.

Chief investigator, Associate Professor Anthony Delaney commented: “Rates of death and disability as a result of this condition are still unacceptably high. We want to see if a more aggressive treatment strategy will improve outcomes for these patients.”

Subarachnoid Haemorrhage is caused by the sudden rupture of an artery on the surface of the brain. The ruptured artery leads to a type of brain haemorrhage.  It is one form of stroke.

The reasons for the development of aneurysms are not understood, but they occur more often in women and people with high blood pressure. In general subarachnoid haemorrhage tends to occur at a younger age than strokes due to blocked arteries.

Occasionally there is a family history. About 10% of strokes are due to subarachnoid haemorrhage.

“People who have a subarachnoid haemorrhage commonly develop anaemia, and this can affect how well they recover. Evidence suggests that topping up the red blood cell count through blood transfusions is effective, but this type of treatment has traditionally been used quite conservatively,” added Associate Prof Delaney.

The trial aims to compare the effects of a standard versus more aggressive treatment approach in 740 patients across major hospitals in NSW, QLD, VIC and SA on rates of death and disability a year after their brain bleed.

It is being conducted in collaboration with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group with The George Institute running the Australian arm of the trial.

“We hope to generate sufficient evidence to establish the best treatment approach that will help guide the clinical management of this condition into the future,” said Associate Prof Delaney.

The study was amongst five Australian-led clinical trials that will receive a total of $8 million from the Government’s Medical Research Future Fund International Clinical Trial Collaborations program.

The George Institute for Global Health
The George Institute for Global Health conducts clinical, population and health system research aimed at changing health practice and policy worldwide. Established in Australia and affiliated with UNSW Sydney, it also has offices in China, India and the UK, and is affiliated with the University of Oxford.