The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is strongly committed to supporting research aimed at preventing and treating heart, lung, and blood diseases and conditions and sleep disorders.
NHLBI-supported research has led to many advances in medical knowledge and care. However, many questions remain about various diseases and conditions, including stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA).
The NHLBI continues to support research aimed at learning more about stroke and TIA. For example, the NHLBI currently is studying the relationship between patients’ genetic makeup and how their bodies use the blood-thinning medicine warfarin. The results of this study (Clarification of Optimal Anticoagulation Through Genetics, or COAG) may help doctors prescribe the safest, most effective dose of warfarin.
As another example, the NHLBI recently launched a multinational trial (the Cardiovascular Inflammation Reduction Trial, or CIRT) to evaluate anti-inflammatory treatment for preventing heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular deaths among at-risk patients.
NHLBI-supported research on stroke also includes studies that explore:
- Ways to reduce the risk of complications, such as sleep apnea or heart attack, following a stroke
- Ways to prevent stroke after coronary artery bypass grafting
- How a person’s genetic makeup may change the effectiveness of high blood pressure medicines
Much of this research depends on the willingness of volunteers to take part in clinical trials. Clinical trials test new ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat various diseases and conditions.
For example, new treatments for a disease or condition (such as medicines, medical devices, surgeries, or procedures) are tested in volunteers who have the illness. Testing shows whether a treatment is safe and effective in humans before it is made available for widespread use.
By taking part in a clinical trial, you can gain access to new treatments before they’re widely available. You also will have the support of a team of health care providers, who will likely monitor your health closely. Even if you don’t directly benefit from the results of a clinical trial, the information gathered can help others and add to scientific knowledge.
If you volunteer for a clinical trial, the research will be explained to you in detail. You’ll learn about treatments and tests you may receive, and the benefits and risks they may pose. You’ll also be given a chance to ask questions about the research. This process is called informed consent.
If you agree to take part in the trial, you’ll be asked to sign an informed consent form. This form is not a contract. You have the right to withdraw from a study at any time for any reason. Also, you have the right to learn about new risks or findings that emerge during the trial.
For more information about clinical trials related to stroke or TIA, talk with your doctor. You also can visit the following Web sites to learn more about clinical research and to search for clinical trials:
For more information about clinical trials for children, visit the NHLBI's Children and Clinical Studies Web page.