UAMS / UALR develop clot buster device to help stroke victims

LITTLE ROCK A new device developed by a physician at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences{}and a researcher at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock{}could soon be available to treat stroke more effectively.

The ClotBust ER fits on the head like a halo and delivers therapy to quickly bust clots that cause stroke.

It was developed by William Culp, M.D., professor of radiology, surgery and neurology and vice chairman of research at UAMS, and Doug Wilson, assistant director at the Graduate Institute of Technology at UALR.

Culp has spent many years studying therapy for stroke. One element of Culp's work included using ultrasound (high-frequency sound waves) in combination with the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA).

While looking into the treatment to dissolve clots in blood vessels, Culp realized one problem is getting the ultrasound to operate through the skull. Ultrasound can be delivered anywhere in a patient's body unless the waves hit something hard like bone or something very soft, like air.

"We realized we had trouble delivering ultrasound to the vessels at the base of the brain," Culp said. "The skull stopped the ultrasounds."

Now in a Phase Three human trial, the ClotBust ER has been tested in more than 300 patients. None of the results have come back with significant adverse effects.

Since the trial periods began, 66 other university sites have signed up to be included in the testing. The device will also soon be available at some sites of the statewide stroke network called AR SAVES while it is in trial.