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St. Michael’s home to world’s first international database of clinical trials on subarachnoid hemorrhage

Toronto, December 13, 2012

By Evelyne Jhung

Dr. Loch Macdonald reviews an image of a subarachnoid hemorrhage at the Neurosurgery Clinic. Photo by Evelyne Jhung.
Dr. Loch Macdonald reviews an image of a subarachnoid hemorrhage at the Neurosurgery Clinic. Photo by Evelyne Jhung.

Dr. Loch Macdonald, the division head of neurosurgery and a Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute scientist, is in the market for data and lots of it. He’s pulling together data from all the clinical trials of patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage, or SAH, from around the world to build an uber-database.

The Subarachnoid Hemorrhage International Trialists Data Repository, the first of its kind in the world, already has data from about 6,000 patients from clinical trials and observational databases of patients with SAH (bleeding in the area between the brain and the thin tissue that covers it). Dr. Macdonald said he believes the number will climb to more than 15,000.

“One goal of having the database is for it to be a unique resource for prognostic analysis,” said Dr. Macdonald. “For example, if a patient who has suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage asks how long it’ll be before he can return to work, I’ll be able to plug in his age and his health information and provide him with a more accurate prognosis. The larger the database, the more precise the prediction.”

International investigators have been sending individual patient data from clinical trials and institutional databases to St. Michael’s Hospital for the past year. With the assistance of St. Michael’s Applied Health Research Centre, the information is housed in a secure data centre and is available as a resource for those who have contributed to the database.

“We hope the database will help facilitate collaboration between international SAH investigators as well as serve as a resource for those interested in optimizing the design and analysis of future trials in aneurismal SAH,” said Dr. Macdonald.