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Integrative Research in Vascular Disease

Prof. Amândio Rocha Sousa
Group Leader

This group is devoted to the study of cerebrovascular disease (CeVD), and vascular complications of diabetes mellitus (DM), two fundamental subjects given their high prevalence, and related morbidity, negative impact on quality of life among the elderly, mortality and health-resource consumption. The group is led by Rocha-Sousa, an ophthalmologist with a strong background on basic and translational research who is familiar with cardiovascular pathophysiology. He is responsible for a team of ophthalmologists dedicated to the study of ocular complications of DM with a strong focus on angiogenesis aiming to assess the role of angiogenesis modulators in the pathophysiology of DM retinopathy and the cardiovascular side-effects of anti-angiogenic drugs (). He is also responsible for integration with researchers more dedicated to the study of cerebrovascular perfusion and CeVD . A multidisciplinary team under coordination of Azevedo comprising neurologists, neurosurgeons, a cardiologist with full dedication to autonomous nervous system function studies, and a group of experienced technicians with expertise in carotid ultrasound, transcranial-Doppler, magnetic resonance angiography and electroencephalogram. 

The group is assisted by researchers from the Basic and Translational Cardiovascular Research Group whenever laboratory studies are warranted. The Neurologists from this group provide assistance and oversee post-operative neurologic outcome assessment in post-cardiac surgery patients. Castro-Chaves coordinates a group of researchers from the Basic and translational cardiovascular research group that evaluate differences in vascular response of internal thoracic artery and saphenous vein graft remnant segments (eg. DM vs non-DM, effect of adipokines, etc). Many of the works and collaborations are already in progress, as can be inferred by recent publications. The group participates in international registries such as the SITS – Safe Implementation of Treatments in Stroke (thrombolysis in acute stroke), a prospective registry of Decompressive Surgery for Patients with Cerebral Venous Thrombosis, and the International Registry of Cerebral Vein and Dural Sinus Thrombosis. 

The group also maintains regular participation in multicentre trials: (1) GALA trial (neurologic outcomes: general anaesthesia vs locoregional anaesthesia in carotid endarterectomy), (2) PORTYSTROKE trial (Screening genetic conditions in portuguese young stroke patients), (3) ICTuS trial (Citicoline in the treatment of acute ischaemic stroke), and (4) Interact 2 (the second intensive blood pressure reduction in acute cerebral haemorrhage trial). Azevedo was the national responsible for certification and training in the Portuguese version of the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale. The group was responsible for: (i) Training Course in CeVD of CHSJ (yearly, since 2008), (ii) Emergent Stroke Care Courses in International Meetings of Emergency Medicine (yearly, since 2008), (iii) Workshops on atherosclerotic disease diagnosis and therapy, and (iv) Neurosonology training courses. The group has fostered the Meeting of the European Society of Neurosonology and Cerebral Hemodynamics and the International Workshop on Cerebral Autoregulation, and is a member of the European Vision Institute. Clinical Trials. Sites of Excellence (EVI-CT.SE).