Recovering female stroke victims may benefit from uric acid

12 Jul

A new study has discovered 42% of female stroke patients treated with uric acid had little to no disability compared with 29% treated with a placebo.

A blood clot forming in the carotid artery.
Image credit: American Heart Association

A stroke is a life-changing event, impacting on an individual’s psychological and physical well-being. Rehabilitation for recovering stroke victims is a crucial step for which many recovering patients struggle.

In the study – published in the journal, Stroke, for the American Heart Association (AHA) – Angel Chamorro, PhD, lead author and director of Barcelona’s Comprehensive Stroke Center, Hospital Clinic Chamorro, Spain, sheds further light on what is the most effective treatment.

Dr. Chamorro and her colleagues re-analyzed 2014 data based on URIC-ICTUS, a randomized double-blind trial of patients admitted to stroke centers in Spain. The participants in the study were 206 women and 205 men who were all were given treatment to remove clots. Half of each gender group were randomly given either 1,000 mg of uric acid therapy or a placebo administered through intravenous infusion.

At the time, the results of the study interpreted the addition of uric acid therapy to neither increase the well-being of recovering stroke patients or lead to any safety concerns.

However, upon re-analyzing the data, researchers found 42% of women treated with uric acid reported less disability 3 months after a stroke compared with 29% of women treated with a placebo.

In addition, women had less dead tissue resulting from a lack of blood supply after receiving uric acid, but among men, there was essentially no difference between the uric acid treatment and the placebo.

Protect tissue from free radicals

In an ischemic stroke, the most common form of stroke, a clot lodges in an artery supplying oxygen to the brain. Once doctors remove the clot, oxygen is free to re-enter the brain but it also releases harmful monocles, known as free radicals, which can damage surrounding tissue.

Although high levels of uric acid can lead to health problems such as kidney stones and gout, results show it can be used to counteract the dangers of free radicals. According to Dr. Chamorro, women fared better because they traditionally possess less uric acid in their bodies.

In the study, women were, on average, 7 years older than men and they were more likely to have an irregular heartbeat, high pressure and other conditions. Dr. Chamorro believes results of uric acid therapy would be even more impressive when tested on young and healthier stroke victims. The findings echo a study last year that discovered uric acid to be a major intracellular antioxidant.

Last year, the AHA reported 795,000 Americans suffer from a new or recurrent stroke every year. About 55,000 more women suffer strokes than men in the US, with 60% of stroke deaths occurring in women. In response, guidelines for the prevention of stroke in women were created for the first time.

Written by Peter Lam