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1.  Hypopituitarism after subarachnoid haemorrhage, do we know enough? 
BMC Neurology  2014;14(1):205.
Background
Fatigue, slowness, apathy and decrease in level of activity are common long-term complaints after a subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH). They resemble the symptoms frequently found in patients with endocrine dysfunction. Pituitary dysfunction may be the result of SAH or its complications. We therefore hypothesized that it may explain some of the long-term complaints after SAH.
We reviewed the literature to clarify the occurrence, pattern and severity of endocrine abnormalities and we attempted to identify risk factors for hypopituitarism after SAH. We also assessed the effect of hypopituitarism on long-term functional recovery after SAH.
Methods
In a MEDLINE search for studies published between 1995 and 2014, we used the term subarachnoid haemorrhage in combination with pituitary, hypopituitarism, growth hormone, gonadotropin, testosterone, cortisol function, thyroid function and diabetes insipidus. We selected all case-series and cohort studies reporting endocrine function at least 3 months after SAH and studied their reported prevalence, pathogenesis, risk factors, clinical course and outcome.
Results
We identified 16 studies describing pituitary function in the long term after SAH. The reported prevalence of endocrine dysfunction varied from 0 to 55% and the affected pituitary axes differed between studies. Due to methodological issues no inferences on risk factors, course and outcome could be made.
Conclusions
Neuroendocrine dysfunction may be an important and modifiable determinant of poor functional outcome after SAH. There is an urgent need for well-designed prospective studies to more precisely assess its incidence, clinical course and effect on mood, behaviour and quality of life.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12883-014-0205-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12883-014-0205-0
PMCID: PMC4207357  PMID: 25312299
Subarachnoid haemorrhage; Hypopituitarism; Neuroendocrine; Functional outcome
2.  MR CLEAN, a multicenter randomized clinical trial of endovascular treatment for acute ischemic stroke in the Netherlands: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15(1):343.
Background
Endovascular or intra-arterial treatment (IAT) increases the likelihood of recanalization in patients with acute ischemic stroke caused by a proximal intracranial arterial occlusion. However, a beneficial effect of IAT on functional recovery in patients with acute ischemic stroke remains unproven. The aim of this study is to assess the effect of IAT on functional outcome in patients with acute ischemic stroke. Additionally, we aim to assess the safety of IAT, and the effect on recanalization of different mechanical treatment modalities.
Methods/design
A multicenter randomized clinical trial with blinded outcome assessment. The active comparison is IAT versus no IAT. IAT may consist of intra-arterial thrombolysis with alteplase or urokinase, mechanical treatment or both. Mechanical treatment refers to retraction, aspiration, sonolysis, or use of a retrievable stent (stent-retriever). Patients with a relevant intracranial proximal arterial occlusion of the anterior circulation, who can be treated within 6 hours after stroke onset, are eligible. Treatment effect will be estimated with ordinal logistic regression (shift analysis); 500 patients will be included in the trial for a power of 80% to detect a shift leading to a decrease in dependency in 10% of treated patients. The primary outcome is the score on the modified Rankin scale at 90 days. Secondary outcomes are the National Institutes of Health stroke scale score at 24 hours, vessel patency at 24 hours, infarct size on day 5, and the occurrence of major bleeding during the first 5 days.
Discussion
If IAT leads to a 10% absolute reduction in poor outcome after stroke, careful implementation of the intervention could save approximately 1% of all new stroke cases from death or disability annually.
Trial registration
NTR1804 (7 May 2009)/ISRCTN10888758 (24 July 2012).
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-343) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-343
PMCID: PMC4162915  PMID: 25179366
Alteplase; Urokinase; Endovascular treatment; Acute ischemic stroke; Randomized controlled trial; Stent; Thrombectomy
3.  Update on the Preventive Antibiotics in Stroke Study (PASS): a randomised controlled phase 3 clinical trial 
Trials  2014;15:133.
Background
Stroke is a leading cause of death worldwide. Infections after stroke occur in 30% of stroke patients and are strongly associated with unfavourable outcome. Preventive antibiotic therapy lowers infection rate in patients after stroke, however, the effect of preventive antibiotic treatment on functional outcome after stroke has not yet been investigated.The Preventive Antibiotics in Stroke Study (PASS) is an ongoing, multicentre, prospective, randomised, open-label, blinded end point trial of preventive antibiotic therapy in acute stroke. Patients are randomly assigned to either ceftriaxone at a dose of 2 g, given every 24 hours intravenously for four-days, in addition to stroke-unit care, or standard stroke-unit care without preventive antibiotic therapy. Aim of the study is to assess whether preventive antibiotic treatment improves functional outcome at three months by preventing infections.
Results
To date, 2,470 patients have been included in PASS. Median stroke severity of the first 2,133 patients (second interim analysis) is 5 (IQR 3 to 9) on the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS). Due to the PROBE design, no outcome data are available yet. In the initial trial protocol we proposed a dichotomisation of the mRS as primary analysis of outcome and ordinal regression analysis as secondary analysis of primary outcome, requiring a sample size of 3,200 patients. However, ordinal analysis of outcome data is becoming increasingly more common in acute stroke trials, as it increases statistical power. For PASS, funding is insufficient for inclusion of 3,200 patients with the overall inclusion rate of 15 patients per week. Therefore we change the analysis of our primary outcome from dichotomisation to ordinal regression analysis on the mRS. Power analysis showed that with similar assumptions 2,550 patients are needed using ordinal regression analysis. We expect to complete follow-up in June 2014. A full statistical analysis plan will be submitted for publication before treatment allocation will be unblinded.
Conclusion
The data from PASS will establish whether preventive antibiotic therapy in acute stroke improves functional outcome by preventing infection. In this update, we changed our primary outcome analysis from dichotomisation to ordinal regression analysis.
Trial registration
Current controlled trials; ISRCTN66140176. Date of registration: 6 April 2010.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-133
PMCID: PMC4000143  PMID: 24750904
Stroke; Infection; Antibiotics
4.  Rotterdam Aphasia Therapy Study (RATS) – 3: “The efficacy of intensive cognitive-linguistic therapy in the acute stage of aphasia”; design of a randomised controlled trial 
Trials  2013;14:24.
Background
Aphasia is a severely disabling condition occurring in 20 to 25% of stroke patients. Most patients with aphasia due to stroke receive speech and language therapy. Methodologically sound randomised controlled trials investigating the effect of specific interventions for patients with aphasia following stroke are scarce. The currently available evidence suggests that intensive speech and language therapy is beneficial for restoration of communication, but the optimal timing of treatment is as yet unclear.
In the Rotterdam Aphasia Therapy Study-3 we aim to test the hypothesis that patients with aphasia due to stroke benefit more from early intensive cognitive-linguistic therapy than from deferred regular language therapy.
Methods/design
In a single blinded, multicentre, randomised controlled trial, 150 patients with first ever aphasia due to stroke will be randomised within two weeks after stroke to either early intensive cognitive-linguistic therapy (Group A) or deferred regular therapy (Group B). Group A will start as soon as possible, at the latest two weeks after stroke, with a four week period of one hour a day treatment with cognitive-linguistic therapy. In Group B professional speech and language therapy is deferred for four weeks. After this period, patients will follow the conventional procedure of speech and language therapy. Participants will be tested with an extensive linguistic test battery at four weeks, three months and six months after inclusion. Primary outcome measure is the difference in score between the two treatment groups on the Amsterdam-Nijmegen Everyday Language Test, a measure of everyday verbal communication, four weeks after randomisation.
Trial registration
This trial is registered in the Dutch Trial Register (http://www.trialregister.nl), NTR3271.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-24
PMCID: PMC3560268  PMID: 23343197
Aphasia; Stroke; Cognitive-linguistic therapy; Treatment; Timing; Intensity; RCT
5.  Lifetime health effects and medical costs of integrated stroke services - a non-randomized controlled cluster-trial based life table approach 
Background
Economic evaluation of stroke services indicates that such services may lead to improved quality of life at affordable cost. The present study assesses lifetime health impact and cost consequences of stroke in an integrated service setting.
Methods
The EDISSE study is a prospective non-randomized controlled cluster trial that compared stroke services (n = 151 patients) to usual care (n = 187 patients). Health status and cost trial-data were entered in multi-dimensional stroke life-tables. The tables distinguish four levels of disability which are defined by the modified Rankin scale. Quality-of-life scores (EuroQoL-5D), transition and survival probabilities are based on concurrent Dutch follow-up studies. Outcomes are quality-adjusted life years lived and lifetime medical cost by disability category. An economic analysis compares outcomes from a successful stroke service to usual care, by bootstrapping individual costs and effects data from patients in each arm.
Results
Lifetime costs and QALYs after stroke depend on age-of-onset of first-ever stroke. Lifetime QALYs after stroke are 2.42 (90% CI - 0.49 - 2.75) for male patients in usual care and 2.75 (-0.61; 6.26) for females. Lifetime costs for men in the usual care setting are €39,335 (15,951; 79,837) and €42,944 (14,081; 95,944) for women. A comparison with the stroke service results in an ICER of €11,685 saved per QALY gained (€14,211 and €7,745 for men and women respectively). This stroke service is with 90% certainty cost-effective.
Conclusions
Our analysis shows the potential of large health benefits and cost savings of stroke services, taking a lifetime perspective, also in other European settings.
doi:10.1186/1478-7547-8-21
PMCID: PMC2998455  PMID: 21083901
6.  Correction: PAIS: paracetamol (acetaminophen) in stroke; protocol for a randomized, double blind clinical trial. [ISCRTN74418480] 
Background
The Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) In Stroke (PAIS) study is a phase III multicenter, double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of high-dose acetaminophen in patients with acute stroke. The trial compares treatment with a daily dose of 6 g acetaminophen, started within 12 hours after the onset of symptoms, with matched placebo. The purpose of this study is to assess whether treatment with acetaminophen for 3 days will result in improved functional outcome through a modest reduction in body temperature and prevention of fever.
The previously planned statistical analysis based on a dichotomization of the scores on the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) may not make the most efficient use of the available baseline information. Therefore, the planned primary analysis of the PAIS study has been changed from fixed dichotomization of the mRS to a sliding dichotomy analysis.
Methods
Instead of taking a single definition of good outcome for all patients, the definition is tailored to each individual patient's baseline prognosis on entry into the trial.
Conclusion
The protocol change was initiated because of both advances in statistical approaches and to increase the efficiency of the trial by improving statistical power.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials [ISCRTN74418480]
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-8-29
PMCID: PMC2600816  PMID: 18983661
7.  PAIS: paracetamol (acetaminophen) in stroke; protocol for a randomized, double blind clinical trial. [ISCRTN 74418480] 
Background
In patients with acute stroke, increased body temperature is associated with large lesion volumes, high case fatality, and poor functional outcome. A 1°C increase in body temperature may double the odds of poor outcome. Two randomized double-blind clinical trials in patients with acute ischemic stroke have shown that treatment with a daily dose of 6 g acetaminophen (paracetamol) results in a small but rapid and potentially worthwhile reduction of 0.3°C (95% CI: 0.1–0.5) in body temperature. We set out to test the hypothesis that early antipyretic therapy reduces the risk of death or dependency in patients with acute stroke, even if they are normothermic.
Methods/design
Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) In Stroke (PAIS) is a randomized, double-blind clinical trial, comparing high-dose acetaminophen with placebo in 2500 patients. Inclusion criteria are a clinical diagnosis of hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke and the possibility to start treatment within 12 hours from onset of symptoms. The study will have a power of 86% to detect an absolute difference of 6% in the risk of death or dependency at three months, and a power of 72% to detect an absolute difference of 5%, at a 5% significance level.
Discussion
This is a simple trial, with a drug that only has a small effect on body temperature in normothermic patients. However, when lowering body temperature with acetaminophen does have the expected effectiveness, 20 patients will have to be treated to prevent dependency or death in one.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-5-24
PMCID: PMC1208871  PMID: 16109181
8.  Effect of paracetamol (acetaminophen) and ibuprofen on body temperature in acute ischemic stroke PISA, a phase II double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial [ISRCTN98608690] 
Background
Body temperature is a strong predictor of outcome in acute stroke. In a previous randomized trial we observed that treatment with high-dose acetaminophen (paracetamol) led to a reduction of body temperature in patients with acute ischemic stroke, even when they had no fever. The purpose of the present trial was to study whether this effect of acetaminophen could be reproduced, and whether ibuprofen would have a similar, or even stronger effect.
Methods
Seventy-five patients with acute ischemic stroke confined to the anterior circulation were randomized to treatment with either 1000 mg acetaminophen, 400 mg ibuprofen, or placebo, given 6 times daily during 5 days. Treatment was started within 24 hours from the onset of symptoms. Body temperatures were measured at 2-hour intervals during the first 24 hours, and at 6-hour intervals thereafter.
Results
No difference in body temperature at 24 hours was observed between the three treatment groups. However, treatment with high-dose acetaminophen resulted in a 0.3°C larger reduction in body temperature from baseline than placebo treatment (95% CI: 0.0 to 0.6 °C). Acetaminophen had no significant effect on body temperature during the subsequent four days compared to placebo, and ibuprofen had no statistically significant effect on body temperature during the entire study period.
Conclusions
Treatment with a daily dose of 6000 mg acetaminophen results in a small, but potentially worthwhile decrease in body temperature after acute ischemic stroke, even in normothermic and subfebrile patients. Further large randomized clinical trials are needed to study whether early reduction of body temperature leads to improved outcome.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-3-2
PMCID: PMC152640  PMID: 12657165

Results 1-8 (8)