discoveries magazine

Surgical Strike Against Stroke

Advanced technique for high-risk patients creates new paths for blood flow to the brain.

Edmon de Haro

One of the most common causes of stroke is atherosclerotic disease, in which plaque buildup narrows the arteries leading to the brain. A Cedars-Sinai-led clinical trial tested the effectiveness of a surgical technique tongue-twistingly called encephaloduroarteriosynangiosis (EDAS for short) in decreasing the rate of stroke recurrence and fatalities for patients with severe atherosclerosis.

EDAS involves rerouting arteries from the scalp and membranes that cover the brain, to segments of the brain at risk of stroke. Over time, new blood vessels form, creating fresh paths for blood and oxygen to reach the brain.

Headed by Nestor R. Gonzalez, MD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Neurovascular Laboratory, and funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes, the trial produced encouraging results. After one year, just 9.6% of patients who had the surgery experienced another stroke—compared to 21.2% in a control group with treatments limited to intensive medical management.

Gonzalez and his team are developing a Phase III clinical trial across numerous institutions to further test the potential of EDAS.